Blossoming Sutras Dedicated To Displaced Nuns


Tim Keane

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 118 in June, 2009.

For Allen Ginsberg

on this street
the man said

and ragweed snakes through pavement
nature gets the better of industry but
today the foundation of Mary Help of Christians
will be demolished chiseled into stone-parts
for a Hollywood shooting that will shut down the street
to anyone without credentials from Universal Studios
or a prophet’s license from Mt. Zion and Mt. Olympus

true stars are the ones who get
themselves thrown off the set
eviction is a form of graduation

say only what we know and imagine

knowledge is authority’s fable couched in a logical register
to coerce the peon into thinking the king’s fiction must
be taken by the serf as fact––picture Edmund Spenser
born in Tribeca raised on cocaine and boarding school
gives up his father’s colonial business becomes editor
of the late Josef Attila and trades his British sinecure
for Hungarian syntax swaps the blood-axe for the Jaw-harp
synthesizes housing projects into a rugged backbeat
as the diva of Avenue C performs an R &B ballad called “Spiddal”
and gets us all arrested for beauty

say only what we know and imagine, advise only yourself

follow the exempla of uncles who dropped out remember was it
Thoreau escaped by the backdoor when the advice-giver knocked?
so when a provost calls you in rolls his eyes says what with rents
being what they are what with the iPhone what with the my space
what with the death of newspapers etcetera tells you get out of the poetry biz
get an MFA from Iowa get a handgun get an MBA from Fordham
for your own good for the good of tech-stocks for the future of this nation
and if nothing else for the sake of your queen’s costly fripperies well then
turn the table on the gentry-prick’s economy

advise only yourself, remember the future

started in a park between A and B burning down a war and started in Chitown
seducing leather-clad judges to chant mantras against the night-sticks, started on
that same turf with the fall ascendancy of The Soul-President always its starts in
the Song of Songs When my beloved slipped his hand through the latch-hole, My bowels

stirred within me. When I arose to open for my beloved, my hands dripped with myrrh
it started ringing with Jean Genet’s argot started even uptown where
one fix was enough to let us skip the dull preface in Penguin’s
Collected Works of M.H Subway riding the slipstream of the 6
visioning gray seats, rip-cord, rumble, Kodak-messiahs
colored squibs of the MTA map spilling forth Holy Bronx

remember the future, vividness is self selecting

be a John Cage of the hips
be a hierophant of the pubes
find correspondences to make Baudelaire blush
see Richard Nixon lies in the squirrel shit
see Reagan trickle down in the scrotum of a Scarsdale CPA
see W’s ambition in golden arches of Fourteenth
see the country starved by occupations

absolutes are coercion
and add to it cummings’
death is no parenthesis

he died just before the century did
in the armpit of Walt
breathing water and bone
rising from ash into air
lured to cloud-cove by Calypso

up there Lorca boiled him the last soft egg
& Lennon asked what took him so long
& James Joyce drank the hair of the dog
dying is tougher on the liver, Jim says, tougher on the liver than an Irish wake

come back down to Twelfth
and hear coinage cut their turns
and box-jargon enrich a soul-circus
see skateboarding as gravity jazz
think of suicidal blues living secretly in quiet boutiques
help pens scroll ghazals without Harold Bloom’s permission
listen to a Sunday-band play a zither and a Gibson summer
the green of the grass does the drumming
takes chord and key changes from the moon
now dance to the tambours of Loisaida
our caesuras can fit the word’s revolution
our earth returns a radical
in the figure of a tree by A
not wholly Sephardic
not wholly Hebraic
neither completely Asian in root
nor entirely Iroquois in pedigree
its virile flowering calyxes make mute the botanists
who stagger from the LP store, gaze up its branches’
blossoming sutras dedicated to displaced nuns
xylem and phloem smelling dense as fresh fish
seeds disseminating into April’s first breezev
as a stray mounts a bitch in view of delirious kids.