Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Meditation and Poetics - 41 (Reznikoff - 11)

      [New York City Street View, 1917, Broadway, near 17th Street - Photograph - The Brown Brothers via New York Times Photo Archives]  

AG:  [reading Charles Reznikoff]  - (2o) - There's three lines I like - "Coming up the subway stairs I thought the moon/ only another streetlight,/ a little crooked" - ["a little crooked" - that's a funny tone there] - "Suburban River (Summer)" - [more cityscapes] - "In the clear morning the gulls float on the blue water/white birds on the blue water/on the rosy glitter of dawn" - [ah, that's alright, it's not really a good one - Then] - "The white gulls hover above the glistening river where the sewers empty their slow ripples" - [that, for New York, or any big city, Chicago, where you see the sewer pipes emptying out into a large body of water - "their slow ripples" - real perfect. And only somebody hanging around the edges of the city with nothing to do and nothing on his mind would ever notice that]

page 113 - "The bush with gaudy purple flowers is in the backyard/seen only by its mistress, cats and the white butterflies" - [and Reznikoff, is implied] - "The cat in our neighbor's yard has convulsions/From her mouth a green jet on the pavement/She has added a leaf to their garden" - [Well, he's just making fun of the haiku form] - "After Rain" (on page 114) - [and this is just a little fragment of a perception and of language, without attempting even to develop it into anything more] - "The motor cars on the shining street move in semi-circles of spray,/ semi-circles of spray" - [repeated "semi-circles of spray,/ semi-circles of spray" - that's actually terrific, you've seen, after rain, a flooded street, a car trying to go and the "semi circles of spray" - he got that - perfect - he got that one thing that only happens that time ,or that one particular thing that is a product of streets, rain and motor cars (only for this century, probably - and only that particular rainbow-like water beauty, which nobody particularly notices, but.. how did he remember that? - why, the question is why did he notice that, and why did he bother to write it down, And I would say the reason that he noticed it was he didn't try to notice it, he just noticed it . It was… It just came up in his mind because it was so clear, because he saw it so clearly, so it just recurred - Yeah?)]...

"What are you doing in our street among the automobiles,/ horse?/How are your cousins, the centaur and the unicorn? - [he's having some fun with it]

"Suburb" - "If a naturalist came to this hillside/, he'd find many old newpapers among the weeds/ to study" 

[Page 116. I'm just doing these little shorts because they're so..perfect, perfectly expressed, and what he sees determines the form] - "Feast, you who cross the bridge/ this cold twilight/ on these honeycombs of light, the buildings of Manhattan" - [well, that's not so good, but he gets that out, that Manhattan glitter out there] - "This smoky winter morning - / do not despize the green jewel shining among the twigs/ because it's a traffic light" - [and so he's reversed it - he's seen it, he's realized that nobody sees it, so he says don't despize it,  this "green jewel shining among the.. traffic light".."among the twigs" [that's great] - "the green jewel shining among the twigs" - "twigs" - seeing it through a bush. It's like the William Carlos Williams poem about "between the walls of the hospital where nothing.. among the cinders where nothing will grow lie  - what was it?  fragments of a blue bottle?  - or green bottle? - Yeah, description of between a hospital wing where nothing will grow in the cinders lie fragments of a green bottle [Editorial note - the poem Allen is recalling is Williams' "Between Walls" - "the back wings/of the/hospital where/nothing/will grow lie/cinders/in which shine/the broken/pieces of a green/bottle"]   ..shining. Those are the flowers, so to speak, the aesthetic flowers of that cinder alley. 

So, similar perception. And that is, ordinary affairs, ordinary matters, noticed with ordinary mind, except noticed in a wakened state, awakened ordinary mind, ordinary mind awakened to see what it's seeing - seeing what itis seeing and appreciating what it is seeing

"A Garden" - "About the railway station as the taxicabs leave,/ the smoke from their exhaust pipes is murky blue./ stinking flowers, budding, unfolding over the ruts in the snow" 

"A black horse and a white horse, pulling a truck this winter day/ as the smoke of their nostrils reaches to the ground,/ seem fabulous" - [Well, he's making the comment, "seem fabulous", but what there is - "A black horse and a white horse, pulling a truck this winter day/ as the smoke of their nostrils reaches to the ground"

Student: (It's also real concrete)   
AG: Yeah

[Audio for the above can be heard here, starting at approximately twelve-and-a-half minutes in and continuing to approximately thirty-four-and-a-half-minutes in - and, again, from approximately thirty-nine-and-a-half minutes in to approximately forty-three-and-a-half minutes in] 

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