A Lithuanian Elegy
for Jonas Mekas
Mist mist my beauty lost
I hear an old man talking
We must be woods
Wise women tied ribbons to branches
The wind knows how to read
So much water in this little river
Don't lose the old religion Moon
We are strong because we need
Sometimes a father's older than his son
Did you hear the sermon on the broken guitar
I have taught my daughter the names of trees
Touch no one till the sun goes down
You saw a man bleeding on the river bank
We wash and wash and never come clean
We know each other by the way we walk
Red ribbons like strips of meat in the rain.
And when there's nothing left there's you
you cast a shadow that makes me.
The dreadful two of us again, mother
and son, father and daughter, broken
down the middle like an old barn,
christ, owls and woodchucks live therein
and all the bad birds celebrate their spring
but it's australia down in here, a metal
language and faces with big pores
staring straight into the sun, where money lives
shaped like a golden phallus. But not
a man's cock. Some other kind, girl dong
or cloud prick or the pointy shadow of the moon
so bright we gasp and say The Sun,
that's where it comes from, that mist is me,
(the sun is the shadow of the moon.
meaning is the shadow of desire.)
That light suffusing mist is thee, pardner,
hot-hipped and sore all about
from Aphrodite's lucidest negotiations.
All flesh wants you because your mind.
Robert Kelly's latest book of poems is "The Time of Voice" from Black Sparrow, which collects poems from 1994 to 1996. His "Mont Blanc," a textual invasion (or interpenetration) done in collaboration with the late Percy Shelley, is available from Other Wind Press (Ann Arbor). In September 1999 a collaborative project, "The Garden of Distances," made up of poems responding to the drawings of the painter Brigitte Mahlknecht, will be published in Italy. Two other collaborations, with the film maker and poet Amie Siegel, are in progress: "Glass" and "Contra Dances." Robert Kelly is working on a fifth collection of prose fictions, and teaches regularly in the writing program at Bard College in New York State.
J A C K E T # 6
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