Barge

 

Vincent Katz

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 111 in 2007.
 

I.

Living a life
Forgiving
Getting on
Up to a line

A cigarette
An ashtray
A city hand

A glass incised cup
Dark coffee
In its bottom
Taps wooden table

Manufactured something
Many-faceted, many-
Faced, the way of
The General

Generalissimo
That dead feeling
Before noon
A shooting

Pain
An old acquaintance
And this shooting
Push

Through August
Let me sniff
Between your thighs
Let me sniff your ass

Like a dog
I get sensation
It can’t be that pure
There’s nothing wrong with that

The dog goes frantic, barking
Aprile
And the song goes
Impractical

Still
Embargo
On eyes
Determinant

Capital of jism

It’s snowing in New Hampshire
Snowing in Tompkins Square
And the kids
Are going out

To smelly clubs to hear
Loud bad rock music
And that’s good


II.

Ragged sounds
bluff movement

Again, from within

Turgid rumblings

A look, rhythm

Project took
a rigid stance
a snarling
and pot

revisioned entrance
aboard regret

fossil

Wheatie fumarole
absurd dilience

beast environ
agree force
conscience
foreplay

agreed pimple
to grow bop
seed drink
cane borrow

wink forbidden
haleys and humbert
smoked ovens at
the teas at four

the force of pushing through
intimidation, violence

the idea that everything would change
and things would stay the same

you will be declared bankrupt
by your Dad

pushed into a corner and told
to stink

to sink

failing again

board regain
eclipse


III.

I don’t know why I’m doing anything
Well, that’s not entirely true
I do know I’m doing things that are
not entirely for myself
That is giving me some kind of ballast
Am I putting God in front of me?
I don’t believe in god, but I’m putting
something in front of me
It’s the idea that I myself am
not that significant, even to myself
It’s quite liberating, really
I’m feeling that I can do all these things
and there are really other people
other animals and plants that
could conceivably be the beneficiaries

But this doesn’t relieve me
of the idea that I might need
actually to know what I’m doing
and why


IV.

There is a reason to lose our senses as we get to be old
And that is not to feel that the final end is so terrible
If we are, so to speak, infantilized, then what we encounter
May be merely a kind of odd discomfort, a pain
As from infancy we are accustomed to suffering, and cry
Out our lungs when we are unable to verbalize what we feel
And I feel that looking toward others will bring an easing
Of that anxiousness I have so often felt, that music
Can help a little, but more it is the ability to look
To others, to see that one is just a small part of the picture
So time goes by, others into others, and we are here
And the thing that holds me still is to be by my children
To see them happy, the telephone rings, champagne
It is a new year again, we are by the beach again
And we are able to say that we are not unhappy
Everyone is feeling good as they shoot into the sky
But we all know the harrowing lives nearby that are
Bitter and poor, in the sense of not having enough
Poetry can’t mean that much, everyone asleep
Another year, another weight of looking and thinking
About everyone, and then there is just music
And people walking by the shore, their humble
Bodies, their self-desires, their anguish, I see
I am a poet, I step on the same sand as Homer