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The Philosopher-King of Häagen-Dazs

28 August 2016

(With apologies to Wallace Stevens)

 

For if betimes this polymath of paregoric
fumbled for a formula as apt as that
which summed his seldom-ciphered sibilants—
englobed as gorgeous lexic embolisms
bobbing in a bouillon sieved and syncopate—
all was not lost. For Neptune’s Triton dandled
there and poked at plums empurpled more
than Papist robes or Bordeaux-blued
imbibulants whose vasty visions vanished
in the moment of imbued remembrance,
which were a recollection keening
for a recall of no moment, precisely.

All this upon a beach of powdered lava
blacker than a Mayan’s pupil,
festooned with gaping skulls of sycophants
who in all complacency would whistle fiercely
to the forty winds the wonder of their hero’s wildness
even as he listened from his lair upstairs,
gratified to hear—above the susurrations
of soaring thesauri that glided at all times inside;
and almost drowning out the baser gurglings
of an apparatus of digestion scaled somewhere between
a hero’s and a god’s—the muffled clatterings
and clutterings of maids no longer maidens
loading larder in the pantry for his wistful,
disappointed yet unfailingly thorough delectation.

All this as the mysterious suburban twilight failed
once more to deliver up its essential mystery  
even as he made another meal of it.
For what a supreme fiction is man, so vast,
so well insured, so certain of uncertainty
and the profit in its celebration
poetically at any rate in despite of
for example the macaw’s demented derision
the bestialities of corporeal
and corporate life, the fatal surrender
to procreation, the calamity
of other people corrupting
the crepuscular eternity of never
if not, with any certainty, now.


In the course of becoming a poet and psychologist, Andrew Kuhn has sold firewood, rebuilt apartments, done aid work, and worked as a journalist. His poems have appeared in Able Muse Review, Chimaera, The Mailer Review, and other venues; work is scheduled for publication in The Heron’s Nest, Common Ground Review, and Vending Machine Press. Kuhn also conducts interviews with distinguished poets in support of the Katonah Poetry Series, an organization that has brought live poetry readings to Katonah, NY for almost fifty years. Sometimes when he's thoroughly drenched himself in a poet's work, he shakes himself like a dog, and affectionate parodies appear on the wall, which he copies down before they dry and disappear.