The presence of absence

4/13/2021 too good a title to use today

“I didn’t read the Kenneth Rexroth poem, I based today’s poem on until after the fact. Caught in a strong undertow of Spring’s fickle embrace, I went for a walk to capture the explosion at the point of impact. Upon returning, bemoaning the loss of cherry blossoms, before their full bloom ( a family habit ), I returned carrying a virtual basket of photos and visited Rexroth’s poem “Inversely, as the Square of Their Distances Apart” whose name and context I had no memory of, only to read:”
Cherry branches with the flowers
Fading, and behind them the gold
Stately baubles of the maple,
And behind them the pure immense
April sky and a white frayed cloud,
And in and behind everything,
The inescapable vacant
Distance of loneliness. 

Kenneth Rexroth

KR-Inversely, as the Square of Their Distances Apart

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In response to Rexroth’s ‘vegetable darkness’
Con/Jur/d, 4/13/2021

At the time,
certain expectations, 
I’m sure it still is,
to be within the circumference
of circles,
to be understood or even heard,

it was the era,
we still feel and understand
by frame of shared
assumptions (you may not
agree, out of compassion,
go! before the hook,

-- Outside,
The Continental --

now it’s too late, just past last-call,
you should have left earlier,
before the drunks,
and their driving)

4 AM,
Old Blue Eyes
has crooned, “New York,
New York” driving the leather
and stud crowd out, out into
the freeze. Most of the scotch
and speed 

has sweated out. My beer
spiked hair is hardening rapidly,
someone is passing a pipe, cigarettes
are lit. The shock of cold
brings the light spoiled gray sky
above red-brick walls
into a swirling muddled relief
and through a series of 
clicks, grunts, too sharp, 
too loud laughter,
communicates,

the all-night Greek-diner,
our NorthStar, our salvation.
Step back,
And from here,
you can see how it defined
our generation, certain language
was expected, like when
we were standing in line,
Albright-Knox theater to see
Ginsberg, and the syntax around us
was growing increasingly agitated
with our free use of punctuation,
late-arriving friends,
being inserted as exclamations !!!

The grammarians wouldn’t let Dave join us,
to be fair, the sentence we had assumed 
could and would,
run-on endlessly (I did try to warn you),
was going to be cut
short.

Later, at the same Greek-diner,
from here, the amber glow,
the smell of souvlaki, fries, and coffee, 
is the same, regardless
of topography,

we were discussing Rexroth,
how despite his wife’s infidelity,
he should have never kicked
Creeley out past the rim.

How he was a square,
and how his poetry is too academic,
too filled with dead allusions,
“Except for 2 perfect words,” I said,

out of the eternal winter,
the smell of ice and wool cuts through
tobacco and grease, a momentary eddy
in our long-conversation,

Ginsberg, his friends, handlers, and spies
came in, draped on his arm,
grinning, chatting, making an impression
is Dave.

“I guess he didn’t miss anything,” someone says.

How beautiful and true,
eternal, although, 
we live in a 
wholly different 
clock. (temporal intrusions,
everywhere fail to cancel
closing-time)

Those 2 words?
“Vegetable Darkness”
 
Even now, 
I won’t revisit the context.
(Making love beneath heavy scented
pines at night or was it
a field beneath implicit stars?)

They are 
as full now 
as they were then.

Without meaning,
yet, they 
unfold 
in our
heart’s
darkness,
still.

Hope y’all are enjoying NaPo,

Con/Jur/d, 4/13/2021