Wednesday, April 13, 2016
To bad translations of Rilke that made us fall in love with Rilke
To fountain pens I don't know how to use and soap that slips through my fingers
Clumsy fingers that nevertheless manage to fold the omelette
And figure out all by themselves the fingering to a scale
To amateur talent shows with their unexceptional beauties
To the twenty-thousand breaths of a day and other pointless calculations
Let us not redact or renege, refute or renegotiate
The warmth of April evenings or the taste of a pear
To walking bass lines and shaving brushes
The pathos of ear-wax and small misplaced objects
And pepper-mills two feet tall!
To "the winds of March that made my heart a dancer"
To "the cold and rook-delighting heaven"
To "young cherry trees secured against hares"
To "precious friends hid in death's dateless night"
To Belle Lettres (whatever they are!)
To the literati and their harmless pretentions
To kitsch and schlock, and their countless cousins
To exclamation points and other signs of unearned exuberance
Everything we were taught to hate by the snobs of yesteryear
But also to you, the despisers of sentimentality
Hard-nosed artisans of the word who know how things are supposed to be said and done
We will toast to "Lulu's back in town"
But not to small resentments and sore throats
Tell me what else you would like me to include and I will go on longer
To cast iron and batting cages, to everything percussive and pure--
Nothing half-assed, half-cocked, half-baked,
Nothing out of kilter, out of whack, off center,
Nothing under the weather, under advisement, under review.
There is a time for murkiness, another season for fussy nuance
But now we must dance to a broad, comfortable beat