Monday, April 22, 2013

With Spring Arrives Blossoms, Bridges, And Old Kobayashi


[Construction/Light. Mexico City.  Photo by Warren Falcon]


What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms. - Kobayashi Issa

1

In my case, dear Kobayashi Issa,

old master -

'above blossoms' of all kinds


A window view -

on the street below
each pedestrian suddenly
prances

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


2

From my roof tonight,
sighing after Brooklyn Bridge
and that Other so
close beside

blue curves shape
city-glow orange into pink into
rose

Emboldened, letting down their
girders they follow me to my little
room at last

the bare bulb astonished
brightens

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


3

This night

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'?


4

One touches the other who touches me

I am become a massive bird
bent backwards

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 -

...tangles filaments
iron spines/hairs scrapes/hands

...chafe lips, gently, the
many necks curved of alloy
million-groined choking...'

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.


5

I was young once

pranced

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 РFebruary 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.

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