Saturday, October 03, 2009
Molecules, Thin Notes:
Towards a Psychodrama for Weldon Kees
The pencils sharpened long ago
are grey towards the point, the car
abandoned at the Golden Gate,
what make was it and how many
miles on the clock?
“I did my bit for old Miami,
stayed in a boarding house there,
three short weeks one Summer.
A waitress lost her job over me:
I lost my sense because of her.
I parked again in Lovers’ Lane
where the airliners fly low towards
their landing, and the railroad
meets the drive-in picture-house under powdered stars.”
The murder hunts the day of his disappearance
could have sirened the mystery of his loss –
a man pushed in a river for his watch,
a boy stabbed by a railway line
and grizzlier sadistic headlines, gone
like Happy Hour slates chalked for a day,
cigarette buts swept by a janitor.
Each passing year the headlines and the horror
replaced by new, and then outdone
by Armageddon archives of the bomb.
“I did my time in Mexico
jumping freights and hopping trains.
There’s no sun quite like that, burns
and purifies, steals up like peyote,
makes changes to the conceptual brain.”
Did he leave some molecules, thin notes,
tucked in to an Arthur Waley – undiscovered,
a poem for the last steps before the Golden Gate?
His apartment buzzed one last time
with a small bevy of gallery owners,
magazine editors, and Ruesch now working
on a film; drank and conversed about their man,
throwing no light. No light could be
thrown: his life, it seemed, like Robinson’s,
was constructed by one pencil
sharper than the rest.
“The subway cars I ride are knackered now,
the rooms I write about long since disbanded;
the syllables of dialogues that ended float
where the railway does something dramatic
before disappearing under roadway, houses, shops.
In hot July brickwork clings a flower,
course green and yellow: I’m untidy here,
all my senses peeled back. Do you mind if I join you,
shirt clinging in the heat, the static
where the screeching tracks head South,
the wagons open top?”