Dialogues with Angela
I can see from here quick squirrels
and the trees they run quarreling over
and the parallel swamps of street and sky,
stumbled over by birds or boys.
And, from here,
the cats, black and bitter, trotting over the frozen ground.
“An infinity of interconnection,” she intoned.
“Everything is hungry”
I took a grey walk through harmonious vacancy
but through some miss of chance I saw
‘Franz Kafka was Here’ red-chalked on subway walls
and laughing, she said,
“That kills me.” but refused obstinately
to fall in front of the train.
We walked hand in hand, through the greenhouse.
It may be that day winds are dark winds,
but the flowers are to be loved.
I pointed to the tables of petaled cream, of smoked white
and suggestive smoothness.
And Angela, gently pointed:
“The magnolias,” she said, pausing significantly,
“have dry rot.”
We went on sadly together, our eyes folding
on faces frozen in suspension,
The real cows are not in pasture,I told her,
Prudent chewing, producing contented milk.
Cows and squirrels and mice are fat and happy in the city.
“Kangaroos and camels are beautiful,” she muttered,
“And I think it’s a pity there should be none here.”
There are no more poets, the frosts have killed them off
in their Floridian orange groves, once long ago
the copses of Aphrodite.
The long north wind blowing from America has taken them
with the trees it turned to slime.
The poets were banalized to death,
pursued by Daughters of the American Revolution,
and in their turning sleep
the ghosts of Mid West college boards hunted them down
with speaking appointments before creative writing seminars.
Their eyes grew shadowed with a lack of dissipation
and they took to yogurt and NET,
sobbing sometimes in the night loud enough to be heard
by their wives and wishing machines.
But one was found, running naked down a Pacific beach
with daisies braided in his pubic hair and
smack tears puddled on his thistled face screaming
weeping diamonds of words to the L.A. cops,
who belched a little as they booked him,
for he had given his name to the little gods
and the graves of his youth.
Written sometime between 1966 and 1969
(NET refers to the extinct network, National Educational Television)