Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The 102 Voices

I have come across a rare and ancient archeological find(!) while unpacking a hundred or so boxes into my study. (Re: our move from LA to DC).
In a box we recently removed from a storage locker in Pittsburgh remaining from when we packed up my parents' house after my dad died a year and a half ago, I found this poem, probably from 1971. It was mimeographed (yes, before photocopying became generally accessible!), which is to say, blue print, typewriter font, on a crumbling sheet of 16 lb. paper, brown and jagged around the edges.
One of my earliest extant poems.
The images come from many troubled dreams and troubled days. Oddly, I can still remember the context of many of these images. Dare I mention some? Vietnam War, hippies, drugs, revolutionary talk, a university campus, and I am immersed in surrealism, psychoanalytics, and dreams.
I will try to reproduce what the poem looks like, typos and blotted out lines included:

               The 102 Voices

Time of light voices.

City traffic backing up
A jet landing
A dog howling
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx At a door a knock
Chains rattling
A radio and TV
Unsettled turning of an old man

An undercurrent of whispering.

Chopped Harleys on the expressway
A junkyard in the forest
A broken wine bottle
Children playing
The theatre is full
The one sitting opposite, his head gone
Others leaving

More voices.

An open library
A free museum
A green statue in a park
The light changes
A glass high school
A finger pointing
The inocent confess
Music in an auditorium
A dead cliché
People leaving a speech
A recurring fantasy
A nightmare
A thief protects a crying child

Voices shouting in the night.

A doberman tearing at a fence
Forbidden country
The badlands of South Dakota
A rocky shoreline
A carriage stops
Those lying in the dust run off
A tornado walks east
Running steps on a bridge
Heard from below
A nude is being painted
A fire burning
A world created

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