Cabin

A poem by Anne Waldman:

eviction people arrive to haunt me
      with descriptions of summer’s wildflowers
            how they are carpet of fierce colors
I bet you hate to see us they say and yes
      I do hate to have to move again especially from here
            destruction brought to place of love
the uneven smiles that win she’s a business woman
      blond tints that glow at sunset as profits rise
            alas what labor I employ
but to ensure a moment’s joy
      sets branches trembling & arms chilled
            dear one long returning home, come to
clammy feverish details, muffed sorrow
      I turn to throw a tear of rage in the pot
            never remorse but hint of scruples I’d hope for
it is error it is speculation it is real estate
      it is the villain and comic slippery words
            the work of despotic wills to make money
I scream take it take your money! make your money
      go on it’s only money, here’s a wall of dry rot
            here’s an unfinished ceiling, just a little sunlight
peeks through this (lark, no luminance! exquisite St. Etienne
      stove doesn’t work icebox either too hot or frozen
            firescreen tumbling down
kitchen insulation droops is ugly & a mess
      ah but love it here, only surface appearances
            to complain of, nothing does justice
to shape of actual events I love
      but a fight against artificiality
            its inherent antagonism, bald hatred of moving
and problem of thirsty fig tree in Burroughs
      apartment wakes me I don’t want to go down there yet
            & how to orchestrate the summer properly
the problem of distress & not denying pride from it
      too atomized to make pleasure of melancholy
            & an uncontrollable enthusiasm for throne & altar
I want to sit high want simple phalanx
      of power independent of everything but free will
            & one long hymn in praise of the cabin!
it is a confession in me impenetrably walled in
      like aesthetics like cosmos an organ of
            metaphysics and O this book gives me a headache
dear Weston La Barre let’s have an argument
      because I see too clearly how rational I must be &
            the kernel of my faith corrupted
because you have no reliance on the shaman & outlaw
      or how depth of mind might be staggering
            everywhere except in how important science is
science? no he won’t he fooled by visions
      whereas I wait for dazzling UFOs they announce
            will arrive high in these mountains
I repair the portal even invite stray horses in
      have a little toy receiving station
            that sits by the bed
at the edge of night all thoughts to place of love
      all worries to this place of love
            all gestures to the place of love
all agonies to place of love, thaws to place
      of love, swarthy valley sealed
            in wood, log burst into flame
in home of love, all heart’s dints
      and machinations, all bellows & pungency
            antemundane thoughts to palace of love
all liberties, singularity, all imaginings
      I weep for, Jack’s sweet almond-eyed daughter to
            place of love, & heavy blankets
and terracing & yard work & patch work
      & tenacity & the best in you
            surround me work in me to place my love
dear cirques, clear constraint, dissenting
      inclinations of a man and a woman, Metonic cycle
            all that sweats in rooms, lives in nature
requiems & momentum & trimmings of bushes
      dried hibiscus & hawks & shyness
            brought to this place of love
trees rooted fear rooted all roots brought
      to place of love, mystery to heart of love
            & fibers
and fibers in sphere of love a whole world makes
      spectators of slow flowering of spring
            & summer when you walk to town for eggs
and continuous hammerings as new people
      arrive & today we notice for first time
            a white-crowned sparrow out by the feeder
with the chickadees & juncos & I missed
      that airplane-dinosaur in dream nervous
            to travel again, miss buds pop open
to shudder in breeze, their tractability
      makes sudden rise of sensibility you are
            shuddering too & your boy laugh
comes less frequent now you’re drawn into
      accountability, will I return to find all
            stuff tidy in silver truck
ready to go? it’s you in this place I lose
      most because it’s here in you I forget
            where I am, this place for supernaturals
perched high in sky & wind, held by wind in stationary
      motion as bluebird we observe over meadow or caught
            up with jetstream dipping in valley’s soft cradle
power & light & heat & radiance of head it takes
      power & light & heat & radiance of head it takes to
            make it work while
down there someone building replicas of what
      it feels like to be a human multitude, fantasy
            molded clumsily, spare my loves
and love of glorious architecture when you really put
      outside in, the feeling of cloud or mountain
            or stone
having developed an idea of idyllic private life
      & sovereignty of spirit over common
            empirical demand
I tell you about renunciation, I tell you holy
      isolation like a river nears ocean to
            dissolve
and cabin becomes someone’s idea of a good place
      discretion you pay for it wasn’t mine either
            but sits on me imprints on me
forever splendor of fog, snow shut strangers out
      gradual turn of season, ground stir, pine
            needle tickle your shoulder, peak curve, fresh air.
Whew, this poem’s long. But I love how out-of-breath it makes me, mentally, while I read it. It’s almost as if it was intended to be skimmed, with eyes hurriedly darting.
Anne Waldman seems pretty cool. It’s a strange thing, what happened to the Beats. You almost never hear of them any more. Check out the Outriders Poetry Project.
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