November 16, 2005

Downy sins of streetlight fancies

Nabokov, by paul wunderlich

Three Poems by David Markson:

At the Lion's Head

I scowl at the bar
And confront a midnight revelation:
In ten years
I have contributed thirty thousand, cash,
To the fiscal well-being
Of this saloon.

If I still wake, mornings, to
Is there a refund?


One afternoon that May, just off the park,
we chatted laughingly about a friend
beset by drinkers' small calamities
until he said he had a doctor's visit due
and, laughing still, flagged down a cab.

Not two days afterward, again en route
re ills I'd known him less than well enough
to ask about, he died. What queer
reaction, even now, revives a dread
it might have been that cab, that afternoon?

Surely the worm is long within the bone
before the flesh is loosed?

Dialogue in Milan

"But oil on plaster yet again?
It cannot set, will flake and fade
Before your life's done. Old fool,
Near fifty now, at least this once
leave something permanent. That horse
You planned, too huge to cast, the years!
Go, cross the town, to sit and stare
Or single brushstroke fix! The hours
Of waste amid those notes, those drafts,
What fruit therein, what end? Back south,
Commissions fall to younger brush,
Not only Raphael in Rome
But Buonarroti too, nor even stone
But on the walls as well, what skill
Hath he in this? Yet all this time
So little realized, so much

"'Let the streets be as wide
As the height of the houses'"


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