June 23, 2010

Two characters in search of a country song
Just make believe, but so in love
Two characters been listin' all night long
for voices from Nashville above



Nigel Cooke, The Painter On His Way To Work, 2005

The Place on the Corner
-- by William Matthews

No mirror behind this bar: tiers of garish
fish drift back and forth. They too have routines.
The TV's on but not the sound. Dion
and the Belmonts ("I'm a Wanderer") gush
from the box. None here thinks a pink slip
("You're fired," with boilerplate apologies)
is underwear. None here says "lingerie"
or "as it were." We speak Demonic
because we're disguised as ordinary
folks. A shared culture offers camouflage
behind which we can tend the covert fires
we feed our shames to, those things we most fear
to say, our burled, unspoken, common language --
the only one, and we are many.


Rocas del Caribe, Isla Mujeres, 1967
-- by William Matthews

Broke, we went when no one else would, July,
and got a corner room. "The wind," the desk
clerk grinned, spreading his arms full span, "will frisk
your room." I'm sure that's what I heard him say.
Breeze surged through the room like gossip. The fear-
fueled calf we shared the ferry with was on
the menu every night. We ate in town.
"Camarones?" "Shrimp." It can take a year
twice for a week's vacation: first you save
that long for it and then it lasts that lone.
The stubborn surf broke into spume and lace
above the rocks. Bored silly face to face,
we told each other there was nothing wrong,
but filled with dread like a pair of sieves.


Thinking About Thinking
-- by William Matthews

The purpose of art is to save us from the truth,
Nietzsche thought, perhaps because he feared
the purpose of truth was to save us from art.
I don't feel in such constant peril, except
perhaps from the urge I have to know what
I think and then say it over and over
like a cupiditous schoolboy using a new
word in a sentence. Suppose what we think
we know proved instead to be a chance
to think again. For example: the cat
walks by itself, but not the the dinner bowl.
Or: even paranoids have real enemies,
and, likewise, mirrors. Or: the cut worm
forgives the plow, twice. My love says I think
too damn much and maybe she's right.
The sorrow of thought is that it replaces
the world that stunned us into thought,
and leads us not to awe but to new
morose connections between language
and desire. So is the purpose of my love
to save me from thinking? I think not.
And this time, for once, she agrees.


--- summer hours this week, back Monday

1 Comments:

Blogger emily said...

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11:42 AM  

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