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Regarding the Eagle of Dutch Harbor

[We should have more of this here at the Notebooks. Where are my poets, where are my elegists, where are my first mates of rhythm & soul, so many of them—wolves and brothers—so giftedly versed and virgiled, but almost all of them too swimmingly devoted to hollow-scanned gutters of fact and comment (don’t stop! don’t stop!) or too lately austere for being so devoted to their own’s too-interior hush. So here came Van to break the mold with this contribution, inspired by yesterday’s Eagle of DutchHarbor. My thanks. And give us more.pt]

Our brief duet of ideas has led me, leads me,
to the following abrasive conclusions from which,
it turns out, I have already divorced myself
by tying knots against stumbling into any warm fields
of understanding so ardently longed for,
and from there we might proceed, if it’s not too much
to ask above all the recent dithering in hedges,
paper flags lashed by winter breezes, paper napkins
fixed by pugnacious nails on wailing walls

gazed at for brief decades with mounds of pure dirt
to represent our piles of personal possessions, things we
set store by, go to the store to buy, learn to adore
in stores, etched on pulsing retinas and
seconds later erased only to come again disguised
as an old lover or a long line of discarded acquaintances
from toe tapping times, whole cities come knocking
on your chamber door as you sit consolingly on the chamber pot,
and all that’s described growing suddenly elliptical,
throbbing with a variable symmetry, landscapelike,
mama in her kerchief, an eye in my cap,
with the newfound conviction that I’d rather be blue
than red, and the pipes, the pipes are freezing
without you to comfort them, confront them,
let ‘em know you don’t appreciate the level of abuse
we’re subjected to around here just to get along,
not rock the beloved boat we came in on,
rattle any chronic cages, keep every eye serene.

Until it all becomes like dreaming of chickens
the way a bad song slides like a pawn
onto the wrong square, the one warned against,
tilting with feigned innocence, O disharmonica.

Something in the cook’s dream combines
with sage on a table in the far forest
of the burned over district
where one hitches up one’s pants and
gets on with it. And a fishing hole
opens, right in your office, the chairs
of misunderstanding beginning to gather
around you and your loved ones, some of whom
still wait patiently on newspapers
with dripping boots and offerings of food.

 

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