11 Dec: (Ammons)

Reading this poem for pleasure: (12 minutes 38 seconds)


they changed the forecast
today from
partly sunny to
mostly cloudy: not by
    prophecy:
    stuck their
heads out the window &
tho the instruments
didn't agree reduced
the gap between
prophecy & existent fact:
the direct 
yields abundance, while
calculation
drags upon the event:
I beg that my eyes that are
open
be opened, that the
     drives, motions,
intellections, symbologies
myths--lift,
       expose me
to direct
sight: seeing, I
color, alter, hide, accent:
but what is there, naked
   & nonhuman?
or here, deep &
terrifyingly human?
are we confined in an atom
with fiery nucleus? is
there too much room,
the ego under threat of
   dispersion?

you--who are you? how do
I feel about you?
do I hate it that I love
to be tied to you by love?
  untied, wd I be free
  or lost?

but for
your own sake: who
               are you?
can I help? is there any
thing I can do:
are things
working out
all right for you? what
are those black areas?
are they parts
       of you that can't
       fall into place,
come into light?
are they longings &
fears only dreams whisper?

  I love you the best
    I know how:
    encounter me with
belief:

are you getting yours?
   getting & giving
yours, mine, & ours,
are we resolving most of
the areas, are we touching
   on elation
   enough?
do I love you mostly, or
the thought of us
        together?

are you hoping that
giving will make up for
not getting? that wd
be the course of saints:
   get, too: get it
   from me: I have it
   and having
   it for you, I get mine:

who are you, deeper?
have I sounded you? was
that
bottom I struck? but oh
up in the heart & around
your breasts
   and to speak of the deep
   in your eyes, have
   I come into your
          measure? are
you getting yours? have
you been had?
You've had me: I float:
  every cell
  comes to this:
          you are
beautiful: you are
just beautiful:
beautiful: thank you:

11:16 a.m: a blur of light
     just came into
the room,
lived a few seconds, then
died away:
my crown-of-thorns,
waiting, got the benefit,
struck across the middle:
     the instruments were
     right in a way:
emphasis distinguishes
partly sunny from mostly
cloudy: if it don't
    snow it's gonna miss
    a good chancet: I'll
say that:
lagging behind the event:
running to catch up: to
    be at the
    crest's break, the
    running crest,
event becoming word:

anti-art & non-classical:
in art, we do not run
to keep up with random
moments, we select
& create
the moment
occurring forever:
     timelessness held
     at the peak of time:
(just went to take a leak:
jay on the back lawn,
hopping, looking around,
   turning leaves)

but this may turn back on
itself, motion by motion,
a continum, held in
  timelessness
  racing with time,,,,like
a napkin
burnt in the ashtray, red
beads, flameless, racing
around, splitting, dying,
turning fiber into ash:
  held activity:

let's have faith to go
   ahead & see if anything
will happen:
maybe the tape will run out:

(looks a long way off:
   Muse! Muse! fiery
   woman, what
   you got to tell me?
   tell me:
   I feel weak so
much tape remains:
my back's getting sore:
I don't sleep good
with this going on--slept
   pretty good last night:
   woke up once
   into a country of dreams:
wanted to remember them:
but mostly cloudy was
   too bright, even,
   for them: it was
a country, I think: great
many people: & no news
of my book at the pstffce
again this morn:  so I 
      don't feel
      strong about
      things: I
      need plenty of help:
      the crusty world
      takes no notice:
      Muse, what must we
      do to hit the top:
      it'd better
be good: give a little,
will you, please?) (I'm
                   bushed:)
but you can do worse
than be a singer of verses:

(I'm the biggest
fool that ever was--
   assertion's not the 
   way to the top, you're
   a little round fool--
to follow you off into
these woods:  who are you
anyhow?  some kind of a 
prickteaser?)

    & so & so & so & 
    so & so
    &
    so & so & so & so so

(some kinuva sans merci?)

lunch: hot dogs and baked
  beans again: swell:
  2/23: 11 cents a can: cheap:
  hotdogs run you around--
    oh let's see:
  this morning's coffee &
  a chocolate fudge cookie:
  maybe 30 cents altogether:
  & all
  that energy
turned into verse
will bring
you 
about
four condemnations:

  transformations!
   metamorphoses!
    mitachondria!
     hell's bells!

how my back hurts: even
by concentrating, I can't 
feel any presence
to my balls: missing:

wd it be masturbatory if
I if I
  touched the area
briefly
just to make sure?

two cool tight weights!
    thank you:
thank you very much:

if I had a flute: wdn't 
if be fine
to see this long thin
poem
rise out of the waste-
                 basket:
the charmed erection,
stiffening, uncoiling?

anyways, that wastebasket
is coiled full: wonder if
I should stomp
         in it?

in & out: weaving in & 
         out: a
tapestry, looking for all
the world
as if it were alive:

(break we that watch up)
just took a ride out
to the refuge: 100,000
birds: mallards, grebes, 
teals, herons, Canada
               geese &
two excellent flyers
  from which there is
     no refuge:
one, the short-necked,
long-tailed red hawk: he
browses the marshes &
for the little bird,
little bird
he is carefully looking:
& way overhead, turning, 
the quiet, black
vulture:
two avenues flesh
can take: the tight red
& the loose dark meat:
   red ambulance
     & black hearse,
brazen reminders: and the 
birds fly among, regarding
& regardless:

the trash collectors came 
while I was gone & 
          took the
week's waste away: we
   are purged: even
a house has the incoming & 
outgoing energies
& losses by which it
  is maintained:
the garbage truck
says on the back
  "We aim to serve,
      not disturb":
sophisticated
assonance

       & & & & & & &  

intellections are
   scaffolds, trellises
we wish some vine of
     feeling would take to
& possess
completely:
      spider build
      a circle
hung in
the squares of: bird
light on & sing from
the top of:
     we build them even
for the windsong's
tenuous life:
chance
  a vine will ramble up it
busting into leaves & roses,
giving the robin a place
& making all the air
  around
  fragrant: we build these
structures because we
have hope, at least:
              we're
  flat & lifeless, 
  but these erections,
they have hollow spaces,
room: we mean
  to change--that is,
a spouting is going 
to go on: good, bad, & 
indifferent are gonna 
clutter up all around,
   rise through the 
   lattices
   of held space
   and sing all
together, rose,
   thorn,
   smear of birdshit:
   gonna rise
right up out of the
               ground
where the dreams wait
and be red & gold
and laughing to beat the
                   band:

intellections are
bowls we hope to fill:
motions on the
prowl:
don't
cut them
down or bust them up so
    the water spills
    & the vine hunts
aimlessly over the ground:

do
not be impatient with us:
we're coming along &
      meantime
entertain yourselves with
the dry beauty of our 
  joists & timbers, slats
& designs:
if nothing ever breaks
into leaf
still we 
meant to encourage
    the vine: we like
    the call of the 
robin & his early visit &
the color of his hen's 
eggs & 
the way he stands on the
      lawn, erect--
   dressed for a wedding:

intellections have a use,
don't think they don't:
if the vine couldn't 
find a natural tree, what 
  would become of it? if
structure without life is
meaningless, so is
   life without structure:
we're going to make a 
dense, tangled trellis so
   lovely & complicated that
every kind of variety will
find a place in it or on
it: you just be
        surprised: &
        forgive us:
        who mean song
  direct & fierce:

(this day
  ended
   in spite of all
    mostly sunny)

a dark night of stars
ensuing:

help me:
I have this & 
     no other comfort:
     the song,
the slight, inner
unmistakable song you 
give me
and nothing else! what
      are you,
some kind of strumpet?
will you pull out on me?
look: I have faith: I 
have faith: come or go:
I'll always love you:
I have nothing else:
I have nothing else besides you:
will you tear me 
    to pieces?  I'll go
on without you, until
you come again:
               then
  in the flare of song
we'll make a common flame:

if it ain't one fantasy 
it's anothern:  where
  are you, reality?
  come out of there:
you drift around in the
background, drooping
like a suckegg dog:
probably I'd like you
   all right
if I could get up close 
enough to know you:
are you pieces of things
not quite fastened?
what's your face like?
     frowns &
     bitters?
     witchy?
     scrawny?
     warty?
     withery?
maybe I've given you a 
horrible mask
and behind that you're 
  beautiful: or
is this another dream,
reality's dream?
  then, is reality to be
free of fantasies, those
I hang between us,
  those I cast on you?

fact is, I'm having
this conversation with a
piece of paper!
  and "you" are a figment
of imagination and "you"
have no mask
& if you did
no face
wd be behind it:
all this is just coming
out of my head:
the factory of fantasies:
some beautiful, some
terrifying,
some this, some that--but
all, paper & thin air!
  a hundred dragons
and furies, satyrs & 
centaurs--and one
Muse!
     get food:
     get water:
     get sex:
bank account, nice car,
good address, retirement
plan, investment portfolio,
country-club membership,
monogrammed shirts, summer
home, cabin cruiser, big
living room (furnished
modern)
     Money
     Power
     Food
     Water
     Sex--and who needs
paper conversations,
words revved up in a 
fine motion and a headful
of dragons?

reality, I've got a feeling
you can be awful nice! but
if the only reality
I can get is a spare,
   hard-bought one, why
turn on the fantasies and
let there be gorgeousness,
color & motion,
red & gold fabrics
and fine illusioning silks!

the man with bills to pay
dreams with a Muse!

reality is
knowing what you want
and how
to get it:

                    (A.R. Ammons)

This is an excerpt from the book Tape for the Turn of the Year

Context: He was typing on a roll of adding machine paper. It is a book length poem. He typed nearly daily until he ran out of tape. It was 1963.

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