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A CORSAGE

Feeling like “a very village of sorrow,”
Just like Franz Schubert, with each sad bourgeois
Dolorously doleful, I only said
When you asked me for my life-story,
“Well, the world is a funny place, un
Pleasant things can happen.”

I chewed
The silence, cryptic and stupidly.
I felt diminished by myself, much like
The passport photographs that make you look
Like an escaped convict or
The victim of circumstances.

I
Am the oyster shell, after the
Succulent seaworm’s been devoured,
With only the pretense of sea in your cupped
Ear.

The next day you wore a
Corsage of pansies.
Exultantly alive, serious scholars
Of melancholy, brave and lionhearted
With thoughtful thoughts.

Now
In this well of eyes before me, icy eyes,
Now in the Broadway 7th Avenue Van Cortlandt
Subway, feeling quite walled in, Henry
David Thoreau breaks the ice, says
“Time is the stream I go a
Fishing in—what about
You?”

I, Henry, will study
These pansies, profoundest
Professors of the world’s woes.

ANOTHER POET CALLED DAVID

I reached a point where there was no
Use going on: my companion said, “Do not waken
The watchman, do not shout, he will die
Of shock if you make the slightest
Sound.” I stood in the utter darkness,
Cold. Without evidence of myself.

The technique of diversion con-
Founds the rival by simulating friendship or
As the Victorians might say, worming
Affections. Then, at the point of trust,
As on this dark stage where on man sleeps
Slumped by the flashlight, to change the
Mode of address, from friend-
Ship to a complete stranger, to shriek-
Ing subtlety, to innuendo, and back to
Friendship. The executive wishes to
Demoralize his employee, perhaps he is slightly
Jealous?

I do not know. At the same time I could not enjoy
The enchanting silly coffee waves, sometimes
Sapphire, which is the fluid stream of our life.
Since then, like William James, I have learned
Ice-skating in my August, after—

At that point I returned;
Since there was no point going on I went back,
I spoke again to the marvelous friends of
My youth: for a short while it was a life.

That you were not willing I am sorry.

REFLECTIONS ON VIOLENCE

I dislike going with a woman
Into a restaurant. There is
A plot of mirrors
All designed to make me self-conscious.

“—Will you
Please top looking at yourself
In your exquisite Cloisonné compact.
Your lips, your hair is
Very nice. Everybody’s eyes say
So.”

O voyeurs! intruding
On my domestic date, do you see
Any glory in this ancient
Ritual?

Hunters of
The unshuttered nudes of accidental windows.

PROSPECT PARK

I would like to ask that dumb ox, Thomas
Aquinas, why it is, that when you have said
Something — you said it — then they ask you
A month later if it is true? Of course it is!
It is something about them I think. They think
It is something about me. It adds up
To my thinking I must be what I don’t
Know . . .

— The park is certainly
Tranquil tonight: lovers, like ants
Are scurrying into any old darkness,
Covert for kisses. It makes me feel
Old and lonely. I wish that I were
All of them, not with any one,
Would I exchange my lot, but the entire
Scene has a certain Breughel quality
I would participate in. —

Do I have to repeat
Myself. I really mean it.
I am not saying it again to convince myself
But to convince the repressed conviction
Of yourself. I think. I think. I think it.

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Allison Power edits books at Rizzoli Publications and writes poems that are sometimes published places. Her friends call her Ali.

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  • Adam Fitzgerald April 2, 2010, 11:53 pm

    My favorite David Schubert poem is called The Mountain. (Or am I misremembering the title?)

  • Allison Power April 3, 2010, 1:47 am

    I think you’re thinking of “The Visitor” which is JA’s favorite, according to his “Other Traditions” (“He came from the mountains into this/ garden. Welcome, sir, all that I have is yours…”)

  • Adam Fitzgerald April 3, 2010, 4:42 am

    Yes! Thanks. (So embarrassing, of course my fav ends up being JA’s. Another instance of him getting there first!)

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