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  • (Still Looking Forward To) Canto 121
  • Kimo Reder (bio)

    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

Kimo Reder, who teaches English at Bucks County College, received the PhD from UCLA.