Poems To A Prussian
Ok...these are a collection of free-verse poems...sort of "observation poems", if you will...about a certain man I have met. Unfortunately, I have only been able to admire him from afar ::sigh::. Oh well, as long as I got some poetry out of it, nyet? Anyway, read and enjoy and PLEASE, PLEASE REVIEW!!!!!
(A/N...no titles, b/c I couldn't think of any. They're just numbered. Also, within the poems I mention "Rich" and "John". They're just two boys I know from school--don't be confused, you don't have to know who they are )
I want to go to
Berlin and find out
Really how bad I am how
Bad the world is
And I thought it could
Be in London, perhaps
But Berlin is the secret-
Truth: it hurts to believe
That I could be
I used to think it lay
In Richmond but I think I
Am worse than simple
A Black Book lies on my floor and
Black missing spaces...
I think I should like
A German man, light hair--
Eyes, dusky...powder, perhaps.
Well I have seen him;
Kant, Luther, maybe--
He fought a war.
My friend Rich told me not to
Bother but then he tells me a lot
Of things that I do not acknowledge...
Sort of a cornerstone of our relationship.
If we have one: that is.
Back to my German.
Well not mine like tacking posters of
Rommel or von Rundstedt to my wall, only...
I can see myself that way
He stands after Luther or Bismarck,
Teutonic-strong, but...that poster-board
One leg up against the wall.
To hell with Rich
H'mm, well, I suppose
Nothing matters but whether
Or not I decide to go thru'
With reality or I go up
A different set of stairs.
One way leads to the fact
That I am as likely to wind up Empress
Of Prussia as John is to go to the
Prom with Strauss and I'll be sitting
Watching them waltz.
Quite an extended bit of
But the Other Way--
Ah, my von Rundstedt balances
In collared shirt-tie there:
O Unreality! You and I go back
A long way. When I was little I chose
The movie-actor stairway.
Because he could pull off being Austrian, I suppose.
Nothing matters be it Reality or Un-
And John walks past, humming a
Too many poems about
Beauty--I think everyone
Touches on it. I am new to
The game but I learn fast.
All right: a poem about not
About Beauty: Germans.
I am unsure about it all.
I do not even know if he is,
But my brother's friend who is
About as well-expanded as the
Patch of dirt underneath a boulder
Made the comparison--
So there must be Something.
See--not about Beauty at all!
I am German.
Wearing Oak Leaves and telling me about
How one people can change-upset-destroy-rebirth
Poor odds tho'!
Wagner is not is Beautiful
The weight of the World has
Shifted--Rich is bothering me
About Horrible poetry by one
Of his Harem-Girls and I am
Debating whether or not John remembers
That picture taken last year. Not debating.
I jump to something else: forget Rich, let him
Handle his own life. I watch an Austrian
Ski-jumper. Young man, Attractive--he
Completes his run, snow cleaving to him
He makes a Respectable Attempt.
Anything makes me remember.
I still do not know his name; not the Austrian,
Of course. Him. Maybe if I write enough
Like Frank O'Hara I will get something
Out of it, or the world will shift again
And he will be gone.
Not O'Hara, I mean.
I listened to Wagner
The first time and today has
Just been that kind of day:
A normal temperature--
Weather-wise...a plodding four-count
Morning. But for Wagner.
A hint of Strauss--a front moving in
And that Munich-flashed moment
When all was square-jawed, dusky of eye
Really? How did the World know enough
To put itself...where he was taken from
Some Imperial Court and placed Here?
I wanted to ask him, tonight,
What he thought of Wagner,
But what would he have said?
Ah, that matters little, really.
You smiled, and I was
In Munich again--
Dancing; to Wagner, knowing him...You...
Touch-soft, dusky-eyed clear; Prussian-lovely
Munich again, or Vienna.
And trembling for
It used to be--
You did not have to invent
War Heroes. Well, no, maybe
You always invent Heroes.
I think he is in the
Next room, I cannot be sure tho'.
Five more moments and I can see.
I have learned to negate other people; I can...
Takes some practice but
We learn--makes us so.
Well, if this was a conversation,
It would be quite one-sided
And I am sure he would hate being
But at least I have the initiative to make one!
It is a bit later and
He was There.
Another battle of Verdun was
Fought and I believe the Germans won this time.
The world stops Being
In the Morning after Rain it
Looks made of clay and colored
I will start and leave with that
To show I have not completely
Forgotten you, Emerson,
I, after all, can only be expected
To concentrate on so much
Bismarck or Rommel, Ludendorff or von Rundstedt
Would it help, I wonder, if I thought him:
A New England Evening: frozen pond: gliding swans:
The last one only, perhaps.
He is a Prussian General.
He fought Austria: France: Russia: England---
More than likely more.
The sun melts into scudding clouds staining the
Jack-pines a ruddy-blue.
Will that make you happy?
It does not
Bother me that Apollo leans,
One leg up against my brother's
No: not at all, in fact it adds a
Tinge of interest
To the morning.
Each day to drink, bathe, love him because all of
A sudden the precipice is back and unsteady.
Last night I dreamed about
Berlin again, and my English teacher told
Me it looks exactly like driving down the Parkway
All right, I guess I
Confused him and Berlin again.
They do not necessarily have to
Be the same.
Men in general men in specific
Or just One--I never understood why
People hate humanity
What else can they possibly expect?
I think,, tonight, I shall
Meet him in Vienna. After all, they
Speak German in Austria and it almost
Seems like the Canadians and Ourselves.
I am too passive in my writing--it should simply
Back to Vienna:
Or to There to begin with, rather.
I shall meet him in Vienna and he will
Be the same, suddenly the centuries
Fit like silk sheets, would
Freud be able to analyze this
My father never went to Austria--Holland,
I believe, and he was a lot darker:
The Italian strain .
Austria is perfect in that way,
Liaison-country, and it
Touches Germany on one end, then Italy,
Tonight, then: Vienna, and simply to
Come into full circle:
I do not hate
Eggs and bacon, a wafting breakfast-smell
And bombs over Dresden.
I am the only one to salute the flag.
But back to Dresden.
The boy in the Varsity jacket
Must have stopped Somewhere for food.
The smell of it offends me:
So acrid, mixed with gunsmoke, bombsmoke,
I think I may throw up or pass out or which ever
Will attract the least attention.
War can be dangerous and how did
The football player even arrive in
Dresden. They are bombing.
Today is a low day.
There is a blue-smoke wind blowing
From the West which is either France
Or Philadelphia, pending--and
As I walked past, he was shuffling papers,
A pen tucked behind his ear.
Another incendiary fell, the streets of Dresden--
Some girl was wearing the same Sweater
As I, which goes to show how a day can fall.
And if I am burnt by the sun one more time,
I think I may cry.
I suppose few people are
Concerned with the re-building anyway,
It is an after-the-fact thing.
I cannot speak for myself--
But how did Berlin--?
Ah, back to that again
And I may be unclear whether I meant
Berlin or him.
I found a new phrase--
A new name, but that I should
Have the right:
There must be something.
My English teacher again, from last year,
And what he said about Germany.
Well that they were Able to
Rebuild at all. Bombs can kill.
But Evil, in itself, can Destroy, and you know
What Hemmingway says about that whole
Today is his last day as my brother's
Substitute history teacher, and Berlin will
Stand, Undivided, while I find the
Cancer from the sun, growing on the
Inside of my skin, and it will only matter
I waltzed down the after-rain alley-ways of
London, a misty-looking sky floating moonlight
Captured in the pot-hole water jars, I waltzed
Silently, not really touching the street and--
I was in Berlin--Vienna--
He met me in Dresden,
I wanted to tell him tomorrow was it
And here we waltzed and I still was unclear
On his name he still knew Nothing of me
But it was all in German--
And it is an odd feeling when you cannot
that came, and he shook his head and smiled
in his deep-set eyes, Prussian-blue,
He and I--
Dream-waltzed, which is quite a bad way of
Saying that I woke up, alone, in New Jersey,
Strauss playing, almost inaudible
Looking at a photograph of Boston,
What if it is
The last Romanov, Windsor--all there.
You missed the Gunfire,
The scattered Bones
Outside an old shack--un-included
And now the Marxists are at the gate gain,
Clawing at the Imperial Walls
Wanting everything equal--
Are falling the palaces crumbling
And we are all coming upon
But not you, the Prussian noblesse,
And you go.
At the bookstore
Coffee-shop Strauss and Tchaikovsky
Waited for me but I was purposely
Late. Whitman was ordering a plain
Latte (Because he keeps things simple, you know)
And Thoreau waved him over
To join Emerson and himself
As Rilke, Goethe, and Auden
Looked disapprovingly at a token copy
Of "Mein Kampf"
Meanwhile--I pressed myself
Against the Store-Front
My hands shoved in my pockets,
Ignoring delicately Bismarck and von Rundstedt
Trying to parallel park.
See, the world Refuses to work when it is a wind-chill
Below zero and I know tomorrow I will
Have no reason to walk up the stairs anymore.
Strauss just waved from inside the store.
For some reason it keeps
Coming to me like some
Sort of epiphany, like
Guttenberg is hiding there
Like London, only more so.
It feels somehow incomplete
How this whole existence deal:
Footsteps echo waltzes, three-four, I always
Incorporate them, tho' not the beat itself
More the idea
Of it. Well Strauss, shall we?
I am quite prepared to dance
Fully thru' night-time streets
Fully to learn the language
Fully to reach that conclusion.
Between Rome and Berlin center to London: Paris
Then Moscow and Saint Petersburg--
I am not Napoleon.
And all I want is to know if I should
Look--Vienna seems as good a point as
Any and did I see him, ducking thru'
No--that is simply John and Strauss, comparing
I stole my mother's recording of
Strauss while I was supposed to
Be straightening my room.
I am quite the rebellious child?
Well I listened to Strauss and
I cannot say I saw you in the
Music because you are more than that--
Not of the music, nevertheless...
Transcending it. Ah, some things never die.
You, around it. Like when you were walking
Along the crowded hallway and we turned to
Vienna, all of us
(Even those boys wearing black who did not know where Vienna was)
Well, you moved thru'
The unseeing crowd as light as
A Tchaikovsky Swan on Strauss's
I quite suddenly found that I could breath Music
In History Class
I argued that Germany should have
First World War, and that would
Have solved very many future
Hitler could have been a painter, perhaps,
It is interesting to play
With History that way.
Unfortunately my teacher thought I meant
The Third Reich, and the Jewish kids in
Class thew daggers in my general direction:
Oh, wait: there were none. And it had nothing
To do with that anyway. The Kaiser had nothing
Against them, and for the last time, War was about
Then I walked outside, saw you and thought:
Maybe Germany DID win
Strauss is gently blending
With John Lennon--a bit
Of discordance, but what the hell--
Male life interesting!
I should be listening to
Wagner--that would complete
My supposed German
Image. But Strauss is a
Bit more meaningful. Perhaps
Because it can put
Tone to dreaming that
last night he was standing
Alone on some cobblestoned
Vienna street looking as lost as I felt because
I did not know and he
Knew nothing but.
Radetzky March and Hey Jude
Paul McCartney being soulful and
And really I think out of any current
Musician, Strauss would not mind either
Lennon or McCartney.
Two Prussians (Tho' I am more of Berlin),
My head on your shoulder, dazzled with epaulets
And military splendor.
Strauss made you.
I am only an off-shoot, I grew up on
More truth-hunting, I stare
At a map and pinpoint-sort of
A hobby. London has a circle
Drawn around it mark, then on around
Saint Petersburg, Paris, Munich, Rome, Vienna...
I set the table and realize I should have
I eat dinner and still, no Truth. We, in a Collective
Sense came here because truth had become old and Decadent
In the quarter of THAT world.
Well, if we found anything, no one let me in
On it. I used to dance to Sousa Marches and Compose
To the Planters and now I am broken by
A nameless German, I see him everyday.
Circle more cities.
Maybe you do not find what you are looking for
Because you forgot to look in
The place you start from.
I found him here in a hallway in New Jersey--
But not truth, which was what I had set out
Maybe if we could speak.