Appendix II: Two Poems
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T W O POEMS* 2 53 TUESDAY "I went down to St. James Infirmary: I got lost in the town. The gardens are hidden by the hospital of Don Juan Tavera.* Advertisements wrapping up the streets. Each man walks without knowing whether he's at a beginning or an end, whether he's going to his mother, his daughter, or his mistress whether he'll judge or be judged whether he'll escape, whether he's escaped already; he doesn't know. At every corner a gramophone shop in every shop a hundred gramophones for each gramophone a hundred records on every record someone living plays with someone dead. Take the steel needle and separate them if you can. Now what poet? Do you remember what poet tried out the steel needle on the seams of man's skull? * See the epigraph to The Cistern, p. 231, and the note to it, pp. 269-70. 255 Do you remember his song that night? I remember that he asked us for an aspirin his eyes moved inside black rings he was pale, and two deep wrinkles bound his forehead. Or was it you maybe? Or me? Or was it maybe silent Antigone with those shoulders rounded over her breasts? I kept her with me ten nights and each dawn she would weep for her child. I remember I was looking for a pharmacy. For whom, I don't know. They were all closed. I got lost in the town no one is going to remove the hospital full of crippled children gesturing at me or at others following me. Odors of medicine in the air turn heavy, fall in love and mesh with vapors from cars going off to the country with pre-Raphaelite couples thoroughly blond if somehow a bit evaporated. In the spring of 1923, Livia Rimini, the film star, died in her bath; 256 they found her dead amidst her perfume and the water was not yet cold. Yet in the movies yesterday she gazed at me with her useless eyes. translated by Edmund Keeley 2 S7 WEDNESDAY ad vigilas albas —Why doesn't it get dark? —Look if you like, the new moon must have come out somewhere. —Everybody looks at what you're going to do and you look at the crowds looking at you; the glances inscribe a tight circle that can't be broken. If someone is born the circle will widen if some dies the circle will shrink yet so little, and for so short a time. And the four other senses follow the same geometry. If we were to love, the circle would break, we'd close our eyelashes a second. But we can't love. They were lovely, your eyes, but you didn't know where to look and when you said we ought to go because it was dark, you turned and looked me in the eyes and a bat flew off, inscribing triangles . . . 258 The gramophone started up again. Our bats now inscribe circles that shrink as they fly from one man to another man and on to another no one escapes and life is rich because we're many and all of us the same and life is rich because we come up with perfected devices when the senses decline. Brothers, we've shared our bread and our pain. No one hungers any longer, no one suffers and all of us have the same stature. Look at us! We look at you. We too. We too. We too. There is nothing beyond. —But the sea: I don't know that they've drained it dry. translated by Edmund Keeley 259 ...



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