Monday, April 22, 2013
With Spring Arrives Blossoms, Bridges, And Old Kobayashi
What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms. - Kobayashi Issa
In my case, dear Kobayashi Issa,
old master -
'above blossoms' of all kinds
A window view -
on the street below
each pedestrian suddenly
the mourning dove flutes sadly
to keep away the 'Evil Eye'
but the sun and I are not fooled
in spite of ourselves we sing of love
From my roof tonight,
sighing after Brooklyn Bridge
and that Other so
blue curves shape
city-glow orange into pink into
Emboldened, letting down their
girders they follow me to my little
room at last
the bare bulb astonished
after all the years they have
winked from tenement distances
over rooftops disturbing only
the prudish pigeons
through my open window
they with their faithful light
have finally arrived
this night the wavering curtains
hold their breath
I recline then
stuporous on the sag
worn sofa beside
the black mirror
evening air heavy
semen smell pungent
from certain blossoms
Kobayashi? does 'stain' rhyme with 'Spring'?
Can 'Spring' rhyme with 'screen' or 'crane'?
One touches the other who touches me
I am become a massive bird
a wobbling kite of tallow and tin
a bruised three-blade fan
petroleum kisses over
massive cables between coiled
mortal legs, those others,
of mortar, of metal
of the handsome welder, masked,
singing to the retina of his dark glass -
iron spines/hairs scrapes/hands
...chafe lips, gently, the
many necks curved of alloy
torqued memory's incandescent blue
flames through and the welder still sings -
'...silver, shards, filigree, sinew...
...rivets/limbs rhythms wheels all kinds...'
Reach metal form/frame fuse this me
now 'a strange thing' entwined with bridges
just one more bloated Balthus* drunk on blossoms.
I was young once
easily seduced by birds and bridges
Nothing's changed about me now
that the ginkgoes are surprised by
It is spring
Nothing to do Mr. Kobayashi
but to open the worn book with
your name upon it and try again,
like you, to be a mensch **
*Balthus - Balthasar Klossowski (or Klossowski) de Rola (February 29,1908 in Paris – February 18,2001 in Rossinière, Switzerland) , best known as Balthus, was an esteemed but controversial Polish-French modern artist. One of his most famous paintings is of a young woman languidly reclining on a sofa gazing into a hand mirror. This as well as many Balthus paintings are saturated with mystery, isolation, existential malaise and longing against all odds.
The poet has this 'woman on the sofa' painting in mind (as well as Le Chambre) only the character in the poem above is an old man remembering his youthful beauty, now ill, out of shape, probably alcoholic, 'aging badly' (not at peace with it) in relation to both beauty and sadness evoked by exquisite, brazen spring blossoms and Kobayashi Issa's all-too-human haiku.
**mensch - a yiddish word for a person of integrity and honor.