January 12, 2007

he came home from the war
With a party in his head



Komar and Melamid, one of the works at the Blue Bird Café, Retrospectivism, 1965-68

With a Friend at Bennington
-- by Robert Bly
He wakes, reads some Frost, and soon is ready
To leave. 'See you tomorrow.' A long line
Of feeling follows him out the door. His shoulders
Slope as usual in their way, carrying on them

Deaths and stories, a divorce, marital love
As pertinacious as a bulldog’s mouth. Jane gone,
Who will hear the thin cough in the morning,
Hear the milk hitting the pail as his grandfather

Sings poems in the old barn, who will see
The forty drafts on yellow paper? Or notice him
Reading Francis Parkman till long after midnight.
'Stay, friend, be with us, tell me what happened.'

Robinson
-- by Weldon Kees

The dog stops barking after Robinson has gone.
His act is over. The world is a gray world,
Not without violence, and he kicks under the grand piano,
The nightmare chase well under way.

The mirror from Mexico, stuck to the wall,
Reflects nothing at all. The glass is black.
Robinson alone provides the image Robinsonian.

Which is all of the room--walls, curtains,
Shelves, bed, the tinted photograph of Robinson's first wife,
Rugs, vases panatelas in a humidor.
They would fill the room if Robinson came in.

The pages in the books are blank,
The books that Robinson has read. That is his favorite chair,
Or where the chair would be if Robinson were here.

All day the phone rings. It could be Robinson
Calling. It never rings when he is here.

Outside, white buildings yellow in the sun.
Outside, the birds circle continuously
Where trees are actual and take no holiday.

The End Of The Library
-- by Weldon Kees

When the coal
Gave out, we began
Burning the books, one by one;
First the set
Of Bulwer-Lytton
And then the Walter Scott.
They gave a lot of warmth.
Toward the end, in
February, flames
Consumed the Greek
Tragedians and Baudelaire,
Proust, Robert Burton
And the Po-Chu-i. Ice
Thickened on the sills.
More for the sake of the cat,
We said, than for ourselves,
Who huddled, shivering,
Against the stove
All winter long.

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