Modernato Pizzicato

By JOHN MATTHIAS

 

O Lynx keep watch on my fire he had written in Pisa
and Dryad he’d called her a long time back and she
thought the new subtlety of eyes was probably hers
dove sta memoria when she read it in his prison poems
in her Künsnacht sanatorium . . .

          E.P. loves H.D.—it could
have been encircled with a heart, carved by a couple of kids
on a tree. From the wreckage of Europe they groped their way
toward what they remembered and loved.
And at Künsnacht that clinic was fine for filming
a bust: Dick and Nicole at Dr. Brunner’s healing-place,
Scott loves Zelda carved by actors on the widest conifer.
Pound had put a eucalyptus seed in his coat when
the Partisans marched him away from hills above Rapallo.
It had the face of a cat: O Lynx keep watch on my fire.
And she was herself a feline, an eidolon Helen to boot.
As Freud’s analysand she watched the local extras in halls,
a rich girl taking the talking cure talking and talking. Change
the movie to Borderline and she is the star, a demi-monde
neurotic with her dipsomaniac beau. Who knows why
they’re here? Or Jason Robards and Jennifer Jones who
drive each other’s Dick & Nic around town; Jill St. John
is no San Juan with a belly ache writing ad posternos,
but she squeaks like a ditsy mouse and shows her pointy tits.

What all fits this case? A pretty face, of course,
a march to the line, a dance to the rhythm, the time.
Rhyme it with mime and bring in the rest of the cast:
Tom and Viv, Gertrude and Alice, Nora and Jim –
Billyam Williams and Freytag-Loringhaven the mad.
Ulysses loves Penelope they carve on yet another tree.
Helen’s at the door of Dr. Brunner; Paris is a patent fiction
she complains. Let’s to Lake Geneva for a sail. P. Pudovkin
writes in Close-up, Bryer’s cinema mag, regarding the art
of the cut, but who has the knife any more or the nail?
It’s closing time at the jail, the privileged asylum,
contagious hospital, letterpress printer’s, the ruined town.
Close up the closet of cut-up text & cut out hearts & heroes
cut down to size. Some guy on TV is singing pizzicato lies.
Someone’s baby sits right down and cries.

 

John Matthias is poetry editor of Notre Dame Review.

Click here to purchase Issue 01

Modernato Pizzicato

Related Posts

Mesquite plant

July 2021 Poetry Feature: Burlin Barr

BURLIN BARR
but the wolf tree was there and there was a place where // trophies hung: entire / bodies slung there in semi permanence // turning into everything / imaginable between a fresh body and shit and a variety // of trash; except Otis; he kept his right in front / of the house even

Recife, Brazil

Translation: Poems by Lara Solórzano Damasceno

LARA SOLÓRZANO DAMASCENO
Nosotras, who for millennia have steered warships, / sailing through seas made invisible. / Nosotras, who walked barefoot through valleys of stinging nettle, had our name ripped from the book of history / our biography from the scientific treatises

Ice fishing

June 2021 Poetry Feature

CORRIE WILLIAMSON
You lamented the absence of a human sound for longing, / like the loon has, like the wolf. I think of you reading / to your donkey the day he died, the passage where Odysseus / kisses the soil, how the beast moved away from you, / stood quietly in the clover, then returned...