What about what's left of Europe
For the rest of us? In Nurnberg
I learned German, though I can't speak it.
It speaks through me. Mere lies...
What a lesson to untangle.
Spirited outside, the master temporizes.
Language temporizes, still it's enough
To dampen enthusiasms before they arise.
Playing the accordian, I mumble,
What's to distinguish us? Limbering,
I strike out on my own. And nearness...
Apostrophes, anticlimaxes, apogees...
It's a sport to listen, here, someone is coming,
Approaching without a clear personality.
Yet the goal is to approximate expression
On the fullness of experience, irony plays
Out its full hand, vagueness with a full leer.
No one can take it back, not even that little girl
With the leaflets in her hand. Perhaps Celan
inhabits me or Vallejo with his brusque voice
Or Gertrude Stein in all her mathematical precision,
Where will I go to hide from them?
Am I too old to get rid of Stevens?
Even Bloom is a thorn in my side.
She takes the pages and spreads them apart.
They twinkle and this is arresting.
Peer pressure and a comic interlude regarding
The Sun mooning and the earth giving in.
There are simple ways to put this in academic terms.
But that is all so much resistance, so much outside, so much *wiederstand*
Forgiven.Then read. Then return. Then speak.
The point is to disappear while learning to complain,
And *they* translate the alphabet. And *you*
Want to understand them? In a month?
What will you call them and how will you reach them,
Like patience, "where does it grow and who will eat it?"
Maybe, by now, it can be absorbed and alleviated.
I dreaded their pain so I learned to fabricate
Distance in the hands of a sunny disposition.
There were geographical puzzles, but few minded this either,
As long as the map to the subway was clear.
But not even nothing is completely transparent.
So no one need struggle to induce symbolism.
Yet vocabulary, of itself, debilitates.
We yearn to forget and to hear again,
To repeat and mistake again, to forgive
And deduce again, to greet and prepare again.
Words worry me, and they too are wearing thin again
in their sympathy for me.
Death is not "far away."
It is space. It is air.
We breathe it. It eats us.
All invisibly. Not sorrowfully.
Not yet. Is the breaking
But not broken. Is the clashing
But not the pieces. Is one.
We are two.
Still, saying nothing at all,
Said nothing, says nothing.
it is nothing. Is nothing.
But it won't
"Even stones have a love. A love that seeks the ground."
Mother takes you into her arms
A central image
But also a deep feeling
A throbbing at the center of being
You know how to keep quiet about it
But you also know how to moan it and cry it and even scream it
Mother! O mother! Oh my mother!
Father up there on the cross
And me, infant me
Deep in my throbbing pleasure
Deep in the throbbing satisfaction of mother's arms
Shadow and veils, bending over in a hood,
Smile and holding, shape and shadow,
Arms and, hand and gleaming eyes and streaming hair,
Light in the eyes, and sometimes sorrow
And sometimes screaming, screaming and crying like an infant herself,
Exploding outwards in evanescent shapes or fragments
The rage that through me back in terror,
That took me like an earthquake and hurricane winds,
And lifted me high and shattered me against the wall,
Tiny pieces breaking apart into memories,
Pain smashing my pleasure in two,
Hands held against the face in tears,
Arms finding nowhere to fall back,
Eyes closed in hurt and darkness,
Hands bunched against the body falling at you,
Heart clenched against the love slipping away,
Making room for fear and coldness,
Loneliness and dread, aching and shivering
O her shimmering eyes
O the softness of her soft cheeks
O the pillow of her soothing words,
Uttered into the confusion of the world coming at me
On a million confused circuits
Spinning my thoughts into a billion necessary tasks
And a trillion answers to a trillion questions
No one ever heard, even me in my most silent dreams
Could never recognize with any absolute certainty
The words used to utter them.
How could she have thrown me from such heights
Into such completely deep agonizing doubts
Into such a condition of loneliness
Into such an absence of her, in my hatred of anger,
That somewhere deep inside that rage and sorrow
I planted and planned my escape
What could be more frightening then the free fall from love
Into the abyss below mother's holding arms?
In the same way that parts of the physical universe are attracted to each other,
Parts of the human being are attracted to each other
There are two languages, if you will,
For the same process. Is it possible
That just as human beings ultimately derive their existences
From the physical universe, thought is derived
From the physical beings of humans,
To exist in a separate universe where it ultimately joins
Other thoughts which now interact with each other in a separate dimension
To build their own structures and travel,
Meeting each other unconstridctedlly,
Opening energies not containable
When within the mind?
Thought curled up inside the pages of books
"Farewell to an idea...The mother's face,
The purpose of the poem fills the room."
Wallace Stevens *The Auroras of Autumn*