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
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,