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Thread: How to Read Ezra Pound

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    How to Read Ezra Pound

    How to Read Ezra Pound

    At the poets' panel,
    after an hour of poets
    debating Ezra Pound,
    Abe the Lincoln veteran,
    remembering
    the Spanish Civil War,
    raised his hand and said:
    If I knew
    that a fascist
    was a great poet,
    I'd shoot him
    anyway.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: How to Read Ezra Pound

    Paestum Thunderstorm, Twenty Years On

    It was otherworldly. You'd have been rapturous:
    lightning over the temples \ wine-dark sky—
    no one in that drenched expanse but us

    unless you call the thunder a god's voice.
    We were soaked completely through, the girls and I.
    Even without the storm, you'd have been rapturous,

    showing your girls your most beloved place
    (that's how I billed it; it's why they came with me)
    from our honeymoon travels. No one but us.

    But you'd hate the new confinement to the grass.
    Back then, we wandered each antiquity;
    there's a whole roll of photographs: me, rapturous,

    posed at column after column, my face
    a likeness of its likeness in your eye.
    Of course, it wasn't really only us.

    Our girls—you should see them; they're rapturous—
    were there as pure desire, standing by,
    just as you—pre-disaster, pre-psychosis,
    came briefly back in those drenched ruins to us.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: How to Read Ezra Pound

    The Perfect Stranger

    He saved my baby's life, then just walked away. He was
    a perfect stranger. He still is.
    —at the scene of the fire

    for Patricia, eventually

    No one knows how he makes his way in this imperfect world.
    He doesn't have a come-on, a gimmick, or a pitch—
    to say nothing of a proper name he'll own up to.
    He's so good at whatever he does, it calls for no introduction.
    His face is a composite of every low profile he's kept.
    No perfect likeness will ever be sold as a bobblehead figurine.
    He has no identifying marks. He'll never be caught dead
    standing out in a crowd. If he sits down next to you at the bar,
    the last thing on his mind is where have you been all his life.
    He can't be out looking for that kind of trouble.
    But should he come across the purse you left behind in a hurry,
    you'll find it at the door in the morning, everything inside
    perfectly intact, without a note of explanation. It's already more
    than he really wanted to know: who you are and where you live.

    By now he's in a rush of his own, all but disappearing
    into one more day's white noise. But he'll be there
    under a third-story window when the smoke starts pouring out
    and a mother drops her baby down as softly as she can pray.
    By noon he'll be at the courthouse, posting bail after unlikely bail.
    His afternoons a quintessential walk in the park—
    he'll have some CPR to give. A Professor-of-Humanities Chair to endow
    at a school that's gone MBA-crazy. Maybe he'd say it's nothing,
    really, if only he felt like talking. What else does he have to do
    except to show up where he's so completely unexpected?
    It's never going to be his day to drive the office carpool.
    He won't be counted on, looked forward to.
    Statistically speaking,
    we're usually strangers ourselves, and I don't know how in the world
    some days most of us are nothing if not civil to each other.
    But the perfect stranger would seem to be another matter entirely.

    Sometimes in his sleep he dreams up secret imperfections:
    he's washing whites with colors. Forgets to turn off the lights.
    Or there's a knife stuck deep in the toaster again,
    mud on the dress boots or blood in the sink,
    the wrong-size spoon stirring quietly in the soup.
    His bid for a perfect game is spoiled by a 3-2 pitch in the dirt.
    But who's he kidding? When he wakes up, there's not a chance
    in hell those things will happen.
    When I woke up today I thought
    of him sitting down for breakfast, bending over a plate of eggs
    cooked, of course, to perfection. And I was strangely relieved
    to think he might be out there somewhere, carrying the ball
    for everyone who can't quite measure up. But then again
    he doesn't have anyone like you to lie down next to,
    his concentration so utterly blown on a regular basis.

    Surely you must know by now how often you're the reason
    for these imperfect words—even when it doesn't seem that way
    at first. But notice how, just four lines up, a perfect stranger
    led me back to you. And he'll be out of here soon enough.
    This poem actually began so long ago, it's not funny anymore.
    Before the perfect stranger came to me, I was working hard
    on the Moon, sweating out some Space-Race-paranoia epic, or so
    I supposed. But even on the Moon I couldn't stop myself from saying
    sometimes it's hard to tell apart the two extremes of love—
    the giddy weightlessness, the stubborn sense of gravity. And then I said
    we're better off not trying.

    Down here the view's no less breathtaking,
    and you and I get it mostly right in the long bed of our life together,
    some days especially beautiful for the flaws that show up there:
    how you make off to the other side with the blankets in your sleep.
    How I often talk in mine, resorting to the future-perfect tense—
    maybe tomorrow, next week, or more surprising years from now,
    I will have learned, finally, to believe it when you tell me
    I'm the only less-than-perfect one for you. That much still
    could happen. But no doubt that's another poem completely.

    And whenever I wake up that absolutely uncovered,
    there's no way to pretend that we don't see
    you're about to get what you've had coming all along.
    That would be me, so excited that somehow I'm still flying
    the flag you were raising over and over in my dream.
    And I've got the whole day to explain, if I have to. Nowhere else
    I'm unexpected. I already know by heart exactly who you are
    and where you live and how we're about to fit together
    pretty damn well, if not perfectly, one more time.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: How to Read Ezra Pound

    Co-ordinates

    Six months left to live, they told me,
    Quite certain. Quite, I said, from quit
    And from quittement, completely.
    Also, in bull-fighting, a move to distract

    The bull with the fluttering cape.
    Could I tell you anything you do not know?
    In midsummer, a cricket ball thrown up
    And going to take the catch, the field unmown.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: How to Read Ezra Pound

    Prospectus

    Customized Low-cost Incarceration (CLINC)

    In this time of job loss and financial stress, CLINC is
    committed to providing government partners with no less
    than world-class correctional services.

    Since the company's founding in 1980, CLINC has
    continued to lead the private correction industry, not only in
    experience, but in quality, design, and security.

    Five Qualities of Incarceration Excellence—admired in the
    industry but never successfully emulated—set CLINC apart
    in the minds of elected officials and specialists:

    Proficiency: In evidence of its long-term commitment,
    CLINC has secured a corrections management team with a
    seven-centuries' record of criminal justice service.

    Execution: CLINC's amazingly low escape rates from high-
    security facilities outstrip those in the public sector by .16
    inmates, per data from the Corrections Yearbook.

    Adaptability: Like fingerprints, no two correctional systems
    are identical, and CLINC's vast scale enables partners to
    address fluctuating bed needs with customized contracts.

    Community: Outreach is the key to our success, and we rely
    on interlocking committees—wardens, civic leaders, and
    media executives—to loop in our neighboring communities.

    Efficiency: Our per-diem rates are the envy of the industry,
    and our classic dormitory wing, with large capacity for little
    outlay, is a model for affordable public housing.

    When the forensic chalk lines imply any body and a guilty
    world, we ease the distress with economies of scale. Our
    corporate mission is to safeguard more and more for less, in
    the correctional universe.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: How to Read Ezra Pound

    God-fearing

    He's the catastrophe we strive to cap
    with ice-like hydrates, blowout preventer stacks.
    Gushing spill in a world of scarcity.
    Hemorrhage of energy, despite every
    tourniquet of containment. Infinite spew.
    Staunchless plume of animacules, the nimble
    swimmers jostling in any cubic centimeter.
    Plenty's horn, the topsy-turvy tornado.

    We are engineers, contriving options,
    tapping and funneling, drilling counter wells
    that will never arrive at the infant Omnipotence
    who rock-a-byes inside us, the purler that broke
    the goat's horn.
    North is stretched out over the empty
    place. Earth hangs upon Nothing. Myth is irrevocable.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: How to Read Ezra Pound

    My beautiful soul

    It is the beggar who thanks me profusely for the dollar.
    It is a boat of such beggars sinking
    beneath the weight of this one's thanking.

    It is the bath growing cold around the crippled woman
    calling to someone in another room.

    And the arthritic children in the park
    picking dust off summer
    speck by speck
    while a bored nurse watches.

    The wind has toppled the telescope
    over onto the lawn:
    So much for stars.
    Your brief shot at the universe, gone.

    It is some water lilies and a skull in a decorative pond,
    and a tiny goldfish swimming
    like an animated change-purse
    made of brightness and surprises
    observing the moment through its empty eye.

    Thank you, thank you, bless you, beautiful
    lady with your beautiful soul ...
    It is as if I have tossed a postcard
    of the ocean into the ocean.

    My stupid dollar, my beautiful soul.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: How to Read Ezra Pound

    The inner workings

    This afternoon my son tore
    his shorts climbing a barbed-wire fence. Holy Toledo, I said
    when he crashed back through the cornstalks
    with half of his shorts gone.

    The sun was ringing its sonorous silent bell underground, as someone's
    grandmother tucked
    an awful little cactus under
    a doily embroidered with buttercups.

    In prisons

    exhausted prisoners napped, having
    brief and peaceful dreams, while beautiful girls in bikinis tossed
    fitfully in their own shadows
    on a beach

    and somewhere else
    in some man's secret garden shed
    the watchmaker; the lens maker; the radio-

    maker, the maker
    of telescopes, of rhetorical devices:

    The time-maker, the eye-maker, the voice-maker, the maker
    of stars, of space, of comic surprises

    bent together
    over the future

    clumsily tinkering with the inner
    workings of its delights.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: How to Read Ezra Pound

    Space, between humans & gods

    The day
    en route to darkness. The guillotine
    on the way to the neck. The train
    to nudity. The bus
    to being alone. The main-and-mast,
    and the thousand oars, the
    thousand hands.

    And the ship sailing on
    toward the glory and the gone.

    And you, too, my beautiful one, having
    outgrown another
    pair of shoes,
    tossing them into the box
    we've named Goodwill.

    And then the donkey ride to Bethlehem.
    The long slow process of boarding the plane.
    And my father

    ringing the bell for the nurse
    in the night, and then

    not even the bell. Ringing

    the quiet. Waiting
    in the silence

    as she travels toward him across it

    wearing her white.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: How to Read Ezra Pound

    Squirrel

    Truthfully, I ruminated when I came down from the tree.
    Had sorrow made me say all these things?
    Had someone been with me, they would say at once
    that I was 'deeply wounded.'
    I would like to show them
    the squirrel that flickers in and out of sight, small as a crumb
    but still able to animate the dark forest.

    Her soul is surely the picture
    of this tranquil elation that quivers and rests inside me.
    The squirrel was drawing my path toward the forest.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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