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   Jacket 33 — July 2007        link Jacket 33 Contents page        link Jacket Homepage

Alfred Corn

Two poems

Page and Cave

Bravo brought us a fresh, matte graphic,
a visual my son-in-law wanted me to describe
as a high-contrast photo of Alfred Jarry.
Magnification pushed the view past black islands
into the tundra, where who should crystallize
but the diva herself, only to disappear again.
Did you miss her? Not a good idea to sail
alone to foreign parts, unless the company
first books housing for you. Besides,
no one bothers to attack an iceberg
adrift in warm seas. Toklas’s recipe
suggested, before cooking, to press
all the water out of the aubergines.
So let’s go, it’s a double-header.
Stevedores, souvenirs, and profits, the game
of games, pick of the litter.
                                                Cold August nights
we’d throw on a log and wait for the foyer
to catch shadow. As it did, opposite frayed orange
pennants and gold oak leaves in swarms up the chimney.
I never felt that rich, though, granted, it’s still the human
condition, even on the Avenue Montaigne.

Trunk Show

They’re going to discourage (read: forbid)
importation of what grade school taught us
to call “ant cows” into the terrarium.
Kids have a problem with them, like I
have with le végétal irrégulier.

Take this kohlrabi. No, please, take it.
Remember, we did give one another
another one last March, which is only one
of the reasons our cat’s-cradle didn’t cave in.
Serpentine, cooing, blasé—edgy
at his age to attempt a tricolonic bypass,
but he roughed it out and won. Touching on
sentimentality, admit it’s not as bad
as it’s cracked up to be. Ben there has overdone that,
and the good news is, instead of your feelings
getting back at you, they stay on the pavement
next to the bronzes. Like the one called Lo Spinello,
“whose action is no stronger than a flower.”

You’re keeping your counsel right now, but—
know what?—you need to reconsider.
Spit it out. You heard me. In digital
terms, I’m stumped, but only twice a day.
Somebody’s clock’s about to clean us out.

Alfred Corn

Alfred Corn is the author of nine books of poetry published in the U.S., the most recent titled Contradictions. He taught for many years in the writing program at Columbia, and in 2004–2005 for the Poetry School in London. He lives in Hudson, New York.