Thursday, November 03, 2005

2 Light Poems

4:50-6:18 A.M. SAT 1 JAN. 1972


As a mad scientist
Buster lights a Bunsen-burner flame
that starts a series of processes
that eventually releases The Monster

As an Undertaker
Buster lights a Bunsen-burner flame
that starts a series of processes
that awakens a drunk who was about to be buried as a corpse

As a Muscovite
Buster lights a sisal wick in a sesame-seed-oil lamp
that suddenly lights a mystical orgy
officiated over by Rasputin

As a boater
Buster beats a cascade by floating out beyond its edge
borne by a balloon
lit by a wintry sun

As an Unwilling Passenger on a Drifting Liner
Buster the Millionaire & his rich Girl Friend
learn to cope Alone Without Servants
when forced to rely on the light of their Upper-Class Intellects

As a Worker
Buster arouses the Compassion of the Nation
in whose light the Corporations
sell themselves to their Workers

As a Key Man
Buster carries around with him
an enormous bunch of keys
lighting the way with a Keats lamp

As a Beatnik
Buster meditates in a Redwood forest
seated where the Selenic light
first falls at Moonrise

As a Leaf-&-Feather Gatherer
Buster Means Well but bugs everyone in the Park
spearing the ladies' hats & the picnickers' salads
in featureless Hollywood Light of the century's first quarter

As William Butler Yeats
Buster addresses an irate Irish crowd
that thinks that Poetry makes Nothing Happen
but lets itself be bathed by its Truthful Light

As a Cannoneer
Buster explodes his own ship's magazine
treads water in Gunpowder Light at a safe distance
& blushes in embarrassment at his Clumsiness

As a Violinist
Buster surpasses Paganini
until Boston-Concert-Hall Light
Poisons him with Love for a Proper Bostonian Maiden


Spirit of Buster Keaton
if you survive as yourself
receive Please our honor & praise
you conscientious Workman

Hard-working Buster Keaton
when you arouse the laughter of children
as you live in Projector Light
Your Karmic Residue dissolves in Joyous Shouts


I know when I've fallen in love I start to write love songs
Love's actinism turns nineteens to words & thoughts in love songs
as your "A" & the date made "actinism" enter this love song

Also I seem to start dropping punctuation
My need for punctuation lessens like some people's need for sleep
My need for sleep lessens too but later I fall on my face
Lack of punctuation doesn't catch up with me like lack of sleep
It doesn't make me fall on my face

So bright the near noon light the toy photometer twirls in
the sunlight slanting in from southeast thru the southwest window
the stronger the light the faster the light motor turns
diamond vanes' black sides absorb white sides radiate photons
See it go

A "42" draws the northern lights into the song
as yesterday into the Taggart Light Poem twice they were drawn
as "aurora borealis" & "aurora" by "A"'s & by numbers
There they seemed eery & threatening Here they seem hopeful
as they seemed when last I saw them over the Gulf of St. Lawrence
cold euphoric after making love wondering
at swirling curtains & sudden billows lighting the sky northwest

I remember their evanescent light as neutral or bluish white
I remember the possibility of yellow the improbability of red
not like Bearsville's rose & blood sky twenty-five years before
Now these memories mingled with pictures' descriptions'
project on inward skies idiosyncratic northern lights
that only exist while I'm writing these lines for Anne
Even the next time I read them the lights they arouse will be different

Nineteen sheds a tranquil light on our love song thru your "T"
Our love's tranquil light revealed by 19 & by T
is turned by 15 to an aureole tipping an "A"
The "A" becomes your face The aureole grows

Reducence from my face glows back on yours

A telephone bell can deflect & dissipate my light
The deflected light is lost to poem & person
I turn my telephone off these days to help ordinary light breed poems

The sun is so bright on my desk now except on the typewriter keys
that there's no need for the light of the student lamp placed to
shine on the paper

But now five hours later the lamp's the only light
& I begin the poem's "astrological" section


Acetylene light may be what Virgo needs to see the "pattern
except that for him this is something" he will
only acknowledge if it can be seen in natural light

Can we gain new light from astrology that ubiquitous superstition
You Sagittarius Woman Me Virgo Man
What "can happen between them is a" mazing
a dizzying a stupefying or dazing a crazing
a great perplexing bewildering amazing
forming a maze of something or making it intricate
being bewildered wandering as in a maze
What has happened between them is amazing

What is happening between us is amazing
more intense & vivid than electric arc light tremendous light
brighter than acetylene light friendly as reading lamp light

"But a young Sagit-
tarian need have no qualms about taking on a
man considerably her senior if he is a "Virgo"
Rand's random digits underline our case
in this lovely silly optimistic sentence

We've been living I think in a kind of drowning light

"He reaches the age of forty At anything less than that age
he is not even a possible for a Sagittarius"
Me Virgo Man You Sagittarius Woman
Orgone radiation flimmers between us
our curious safety light

"What can happen between them is superb
Something he has spent half his life dreaming about
At last it has come true" O ingratiating
astrological light may you never prove false
even to one who has often decried you as no light
but superstitious darkness natural light would dispel
or the electric arc light of empirical science

The way I'm writing this poem's like using
trichromatic artificial radiance
not as decorative light in place of
ordinary solar radiation as you photographers do

Before I was forty "not even a possible for a Sagittarius"
now I'm sixteen over the line & safe with you

"Her but a young Sagittarian need have" none
"qualms" have no basis
Are we dreaming Is this Virgo Man still dreaming
as "he has spent half his life" they say "dreaming"
"Sagittarian & Virgo"
"The pattern is perfect"
The poem is over

19-20 March 1979
New York

-- Jackson Mac Low


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