there was a rolling of words under running water.  there have been many demanding a pen. word fragments while scrapping yellow insides of  winter’s squash. that image sinks but never settles. out of balance, there are nights that wake up with morning before the eyes have explored her blank canvas. today promises a settling frost. perhaps tomorrow will inspire a new image. a painter, a poet – neither one inspires the eye.

A few more poems read & watched for ModPo. We’ve an essay due Sunday – I’ve not started, I’m not prepared. Meh, the rubric will get me no matter what I write.

I wrote down a personal observation on the forum regarding “Hard Times” by Ashbery. It isn’t that I feel I’ve broken the code, but I wasn’t happy with what I had heard from others. Why not throw a thought or two out there – I’ve freedom of speech and they’ve a freedom to ignore.

“In the future it will filter down through all the proceedings” ~ This line coupled with the “Hard Times” title & California made me think “filter down”…trickle down economics. Those calls from hell akin to collectors calling asking for the money. Reagan became President and we’d soon feel the downslide of an overburdened economy.

Whatever twists around it is decoration and can never/ Be looked at as something isolated, apart. Get it? And/ He flashed a mouthful of aluminum teeth there in the darkness/ To tell however it gets down, that it does, at last.

^^that stanza coupled with the first stanza’s last line

In the future it will filter down through all the proceedings

offered a different read after seeing what else was going on in 1981… Nixon and his aides were facing a ruling by the Supreme Court regarding the wire tapping — money to be paid. All those calls, future proceedings and in the end That the power of this climate is only to conserve itself the damage is done and the power of politics continues to be corrupt.

It works (for me) until the last stanza waxing on about the “great trip to California” which made me agree with the video regarding manifest destiny or the times of Grapes of Wrath. The only thing that I didn’t see was the reading of the word ‘flushed’ which I took to be embarrassed – they went seeking something different but found nothing new. The “night is closed off” because the dreams have died…

Meh…a hard poem, indeed, which reminds me of something I listened to today on lunch. It is an old interview with Ashbery regarding his poem “These Lacustrine Cities”. I’m not done listening, but before I had to get back to work he answered the purpose of a hard poem. To paraphrase his reply…he stated, that for a difficult matter to be understood sometimes it needs to be expressed in a difficult way. I thought that was rather interesting, though, perhaps I didn’t really understand…

If you happen here after this late night post, I’ve ——– because Ashbery DIDN’T address hard poems perse but obscurity in poetry. He feels that sometimes an obscure poem lends better to understanding than a direct poem…. I’d say he is a poet who believes poetry is to be left up to its reader…

Interesting…as I re-read this I realize I’ve missed something more – the meta. It is the poet who travels Westward with a blush of prospect ? Does he become flushed with the banal commodity of failed language  causing the stars to fade away. Perhaps that is here, transferring off this white page while the dog curls waiting and red eyes watch the digital creep toward two.

** the poem “Hard Times”.