To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Gematria Poem, As It Comes to Me, for George Quasha at 70 & Myself at 80

please note. a list of postings after january 12, 2012 can be found here

100 + 6 + 6 + 1 + 300 + 1 = 414 = 200 + 214 = 300 + 114

I came
& with him

watched the serpents
& the antelopes

so inflamed

the pit
divines them


our eyes
will bring them down

will multiply
their faces

& we will see
a light

a stone
for divination

we will bring
out of a rock

then we will take
a bone

the ends of which
like wings

or branches
blameless clear

we will scrape off
& swallow

vain like prophets
bare uncircumcised

in the imagination
only & will see

& multiply
like locusts

we will scatter
in the river

: & they saw
: & they shall see

That George Quasha has come to this point & I still ten years ahead of him is an unanticipated delight & one in need of celebration all around.  It is also forty years since we joined together in constructing America a Prophecy (1973), which has now come into a rebirth & sits in front of me as I think back to our first meetings & the turbulence of working & playing together on such a multiphasic project.  It was in the aftermath of that work that I came to realize that prophecy as we used it in the title was most remarkably a vision, not so much of the future as of the present & the past – the present foremost, however soon it slips away from us.  That present has stuck with us still, & however long it lasts, gives us a chance to expand what we know as mind & voice, toward what I think of now as an omnipoetics, a principle of poetry & life, that I first sensed & fought & questioned in his presence.  The poem that gematria has now given me – from the letters of his name spelled out in written Yiddish – is also something that I may come to understand, if ever, not as it first emerges here but as I grapple with it in the days & years to come.  The poetry, I mean to say, is in the questions, as the prophecy is also. 
            For which I want to thank him, as I hope to do again & then again.

1 comment:

Ed Baker said...

George Quasha MY age ? I had thought that he was older than me..
this is (pure) Alchemy / Magic

not a single word NOT doing it s job precisely....

and the soundings WOWOW !

on branches
blameless clear

"knocks" me out.

have often thought that had I not dropped out 1975-1998
that we would-might have met ....

I have a cpl of tapes around here somewhere of Cid reading (one 1978 and one 1991 and (I think) George Q introduces Cid on one of them .... or is it George Evans?)

thnks for this I've neglected reading George's work "it s on the list"