- (Still Looking Forward To) Canto 121
If Ezra Pound had survived or been inclined to write one final Canto in which one of his Fascist broadcasts played backward provided a hidden forecast blaming our early 1970s Oil Crises on Provencal troubadours' plucking of uncredited Arabic airs said Canto could serve as a "recanto"
if such a Canto were discovered in a musty drawer, piled below newspaper clippingsof FDR drawn w/ a halo, his polio wheelchair festooned like a Hindu chariot in Veteran's Day poppies said poem would be called a forgery and blamed on some revisionist's sense of cleaning-up
indeed every liberal mealworm would love to envision Canto 121 as a poem of addendums: Pound's river-merchant drydocked and turned into a monogamist a poem in which every Chinese character Pound wrote upside-down stood rectifieda swan-song suggesting Mussolini should have been hanged from a "wet, black" branch instead of from some gas-station's meathooks
Pound's final Canto (if intended as such) may well have wished to leap its material page translated by bio-tech into a series of haikus written out in potato triplet codons harkening back to his native Idaho a Cubist poem whose angles jutted off its page like a cosmopolite's pop-up book indeed a poem whose main ideogram became so vivid it served as a 3D hologram of a sun-in-branchesor else a poem whose Vortex was made truly spinnable by being bound like a Rolodex or marked by a single hair plucked from Pound's russet goatee pasted across his final poem's final line, a fox-wise compass-needle pointing Eastward
Canto 121 could have served as a kind of post-Augustinian confession in which Pound admits to smuggling secret references to feng shui and not Sinn Fein into Yeats's daily correspondences while serving as his secretary and confesses to trying to blue-pencil The Waste Land into a speck of dusta series of stanzas written on a pair of hospital whites smuggled out of Pound's DC sanitarium drowned in a rain of long-delayed, long-needed footnotes "I have begun an endless poem" written inside a circle-and-slashone last installment to undo 120's zodiac balance— 121 as 11 times 11 is a product of four numeric pillars [End Page 790]
Pound died on All Saints' Day, suitable to such a canonist and framer of secular patronsa final Canto forged on his final day could have admitted to hero-worship for its own hoary sake Canto 121 not "made new" but "made final," his "brew of books" come to a foaming head his imagistic "shorthand" shortened into a Euclidean point, a steady-state inkblot a black hole of an ideogram so dense it serves as an oversized period. [End Page 791]
Kimo Reder, who teaches English at Bucks County College, received the PhD from UCLA.