Tags

, , , , , ,

“…you couldn’t ask for a sweeter or more benign monarch than Rose… high station in life is earned by the gallantry with which appalling experiences are survived with grace.”
(Final paragraph of TENNESSEE WILLIAMS: MEMOIRS)

I.

Prelude

Meritorious achievement rewarded:
“Gentlemen, you’ve come to the house built.”
What of the bloodied earth and chards of skin before it?

The sister becomes the daughter to the father
The pomegranate, the Great Mother, the rape of the Madonna.

Seldom has welfare fared so kind to the living And recourse so unkind to the dead.

You will always wait for the Icemen In the garrets of Maryinsky
Or the great taverns of the North

And you will have your men standing side by side Loving one another forever.

Tell Tom you love him.
Give this man a grant!
And for heaven’s sake, buy bonds.

There is a certain kindness in ante-bellum America.

The advent of the word processor,

Dissolution of the Hollywood star system,

Caution will lead us to the obvious.

 

II.


What Will You With That Power?

[From the asylum journal of Rose Isabel Williams]

At night,
The hospital rooms of Stoney Lodge
Are kind to me. The frames of the windows

Make a portrait of the whole world.

The blue-blackness of night sighs
Around the edges and the industrial stacks

Of Ossining are welcomed guests
For an able-bodied host.

Smoke escapes from the lips
And remains –
Yes, even they have much more to say –

They have not even begun to live.

Beneath my windows
The trees are making resolutions

And the vile lifestyles
Of domestic household animals

Are being questioned.

Competent resident nurses
Exchange vows at the time clock.
They forget every bit of grammar
They’ve ever learned
And beg their autos
Into question marks
Out of the lot, from the hospital, to their homes. 

Advertisements