Feed on

Tables Upturned And Chapbooks Thrown
Four People Seriously Injured
Others Removed With Feelings Hurt
Pandemonium In Verse

—Headlines from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 19 January 1907

ARK 34, Spire on the Death of L.Z.

is this happening,
a quick as a squirrel’s tail
spright of deer
but burnished as a
evenly distributed as nesting sights
or silvery layers of film
over rotifers
of paraphrase
in a sphere clumped
pool all a mareshiver
of lights
executed in pure
half Mozart
fits and starts, half stars
holywork of oracular oak
though through
scherzo scarecrow
tactics an acorn might
knuckle under
and pairs of eyes
all believing
an edifice
of matched snailshell
faced to watch
in cherubim cliffed hayseed, rayed
cloud in plaster
or near it
as consonance gets without
to unraveled blizzard
huzzah cooperating with treble instances
such as orioles
between tulips trees
seizing the summerier dissonances
of worm
bees purring a
in utter emerald cornfield
till the cows come
purple home
this is paradise
this is
on the surface of a bubble
time and again
fire sculpt of notwithstanding
the whole parted world
in choir
when the winds bright horses
hooves break earth in thunder
that is paradise
Lord Hades, whom we all will meet
crackling up
like a wall of prairie fire
in a somersault silver
to climb blank air
around us
to say then head wedded nail and hammer to the
work of vision
of the word
at hand
that is paradise
this is called the spine of white cypress
roughly cylindrical
on the principle
of the intervals between cuckoos
and molecules, and molecules
these are the carpets of
protoplast, this
the hall of crystcycling waltz
down carbon atom
this, red clay
where the cloud clatter out wide stars
this is

—  Ronald Johnson, from Ark

chorizo slept hereBeadel Debevoise notes: L.Z. of course is long-time Brooklyn Heights resident, Louis Zukofsky, who died on 12 May 1978. Arguably the city or borough’s greatest poet, Zukofsky taught English to engineers for many years at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. Poly means you have sex with a lot of people but as far as we know, he didn’t fuck Walt Whitman, whom some people don’t like all that much and whose lies, evasiveness and and life-long racism most Brooklyn writers are chary to acknowledge, although those are things the shaggy bard, like, was. Some other stuff too but in real time but it’s both silly and self-delusional to seperate the too. Historian David Reynolds gives a fair accounting of the man, the myth and the mess in his highly estimable Walt Whitman: A Cultural Biography. In dire need of of some chilaquiles  con huevos  some strong and coffee this cold morning, I suggest reading Ronald Johnson first, however. Johnson, a native of Kansas and partial acolyte of Zukofsky was not only one of the great American poets of the 20th century, he was one of this nation’s great cookbook authors also; try The American Table, with illustrations by James McGarrell for starters.  Simple Fare is also excellent, and if you entertain in addition to being entertaining like Beadel Debevoise (I think the latter is enough myself), check out Company Fare too. Had the two poets met I still wouldn’t want to pick the crumbs out of Whitman’s beard but, who knows, some people might.

Caz Dolowicz recommends The Aficionado’s Southwestern Cooking, although after a long day of Civil War battle reenactments in Gettysburg, he’ll kick back and let Tico’s Tacos of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania fill his 83-year-old Sands Street, Brooklyn-native belly.

Leave a Reply