It Leaps About Me
It leaps about me, as my feet travel across the pavement of the street, turning back to peer over my shoulder, Oude Vest, the water of the canals brushing up against the brick walls, under the sun, tall as the sky— and in the land above— they shine.
or down De Haven to the west, to— as I walk further in the land they call my own, but only through blood— where they lived 65 years ago, little boy and mother—from the Netherlands, to the foreign land of Canada—frightened at the dock— but safe.
then struggling towards marriage children divorce— toward what? Pain? Loss or Life?
Life. Toward the girl in her home— and the girl now walking the streets which feel as if her home— after a single vast beam, years, and she is now here. Strange to have moved so far to only feel at home.
Italicized part of insert is the section in which I have emulated Allen Ginsberg’s poem to reflect that of my thoughts and feelings when I visited The Netherlands in August 2017.
Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.
downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I’ve been up all night, talking, talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to Ray Charles blues shout blind on the phonograph
the rhythm the rhythm—and your memory in my head three years after—And read Adonais’ last triumphant stanzas aloud—wept, realizing how we suffer—
And how Death is that remedy all singers dream of, sing, remember, prophesy as in the Hebrew Anthem, or the Buddhist Book of Answers—and my own imagination of a withered leaf—at dawn—
Dreaming back thru life, Your time—and mine accelerating toward Apocalypse,
the final moment—the flower burning in the Day—and what comes after,
looking back on the mind itself that saw an American city
a flash away, and the great dream of Me or China, or you and a phantom Russia, or a crumpled bed that never existed—
like a poem in the dark—escaped back to Oblivion—
No more to say, and nothing to weep for but the Beings in the Dream, trapped in its disappearance,
sighing, screaming with it, buying and selling pieces of phantom, worshipping each other,
worshipping the God included in it all—longing or inevitability?—while it lasts, a Vision—anything more?
It leaps about me, as I go out and walk the street, look back over my shoulder, Seventh Avenue, the battlements of window office buildings shouldering each other high, under a cloud, tall as the sky an instant—and the sky above—an old blue place.
or down the Avenue to the south, to—as I walk toward the Lower East Side—where you walked 50 years ago, little girl—from Russia, eating the first poisonous tomatoes of America—frightened on the dock—
then struggling in the crowds of Orchard Street toward what?—toward Newark—
toward candy store, first home-made sodas of the century, hand-churned ice cream in backroom on musty brownfloor boards—
Toward education marriage nervous breakdown, operation, teaching school, and learning to be mad, in a dream—what is this life?
Toward the Key in the window—and the great Key lays its head of light on top of Manhattan, and over the floor, and lays down on the sidewalk—in a single vast beam, moving, as I walk down First toward the Yiddish Theater—and the place of poverty
you knew, and I know, but without caring now—Strange to have moved
thru Paterson, and the West, and Europe and here again,
with the cries of Spaniards now in the doorstoops doors and dark boys on the street, fire escapes old as you
-Tho you’re not old now, that’s left here with me—
Myself, anyhow, maybe as old as the universe—and I guess that dies with us—enough to cancel all that comes—What came is gone forever every time—
That’s good! That leaves it open for no regret—no fear radiators, lacklove, torture even toothache in the end—
Though while it comes it is a lion that eats the soul—and the lamb, the soul, in us, alas, offering itself in sacrifice to change’s fierce hunger—hair and teeth—and the roar of bonepain, skull bare, break rib, rot-skin, braintricked Implacability.