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Page 226

There's something subversive about art (well, duh!) --
all these necklaces of now; now Hamlet says "To be
or not to be...", now Lear says "Never never
never never never" [he does, you know], now
Molly Bloom says, "yes I said yes..." (but, say the
politically correct, she may have MEANT "no"),
while Leopold Bloom eats "...with relish the inner organs
of beasts and fowls" and now Hemingway Hemingways
away (the Hemingway is NOT the Hawingway – though
his prose shares a yellowy-greenish tint with Hawthorne's --
but I can't recall anything he said or is saying, Nada),
and now 70 versions of Rembrandt look us in the eye
(his own eyes slightly worried, soft spaniel eyes,
wondering how he'll paint us all)
and Beethoven thunders at us and Bach ripples through us,
rounding us like pebbles in a brook, polishing us
to reveal our elaborate patterns of streaks and glints,
and all this is now now now, each its own
now (When we have now, we have won our own – neatly
acronymic, now own won – but not one), linking us
in separate, criss-crossing continua: Will all those
now speaking, inwardly or aloud, the words "To be
or not to be" please raise their right hands?
Thank you. Will all those now being told tunefully
that she loves you yeah yeah yeah please raise your hands?
My, such a mob of you after all these years – yeah!
All of you now in gymnastically intricate flagrante delicto
and about to have eye-ball-whitening orgasms, please
raise your right hands...oh, never mind!

The larger and more rapt the audience (riff-rapt),
the more real and radiant the now, the shared universe
running on B-Minor-Mass time or Beatles time or
Nabokov time or, if we are very quick, Issa time.

We pause for universe identification:
Bong BONG Bong. This must be the Mutual Broadcasting
System. You are partaking of Blehert time.
You've just reached (all of you – all together now,
you are SO well trained!) the end of poem 226.

Notes: The "yes I said yes" begins the finale of Molly Bloom's soliloquy in James Joyce's novel, Ulysses. The joke about how Molly may have meant "no" comes from some academic feminist complaints about how even women who say "yes" often mean"no," so are really raped. Leopold Bloom (Molly's husband) relishes those inner organs (nutty gizzards, etc.) much earlier in the same novel. Hemingway/Hawingway – refers to "hemming and hawing" and to Hemingway and Hawthorne, between whom I've always sensed an affinity (both being Cancer? Yes, and for some reason I associate both with a yellow-greenish, almost sallow hue). Rembrandt painted some 70 self-portraits. Bach "ripples" – perhaps because "bach" is German for "brook." One has to be quick to be on "Issa time" because Issa's great poetry is in that very rapid form, haiku. There was a major radio network called the Mutual Broadcasting System (is there still?), but here the word "mutual" refers also to the way writer and readers share in the creation of any poem – if the writer is able to solicit that contribution. The three Bongs represent another network, still going strong. (NBC? CBS? I forget!)

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