Grappling with Paz

it is useful at times to figure where a poet’s thrust lies, the resultant vector, the primary determinant of all that can be poetically trusted to stand in for the poet – “a poet is primarily a poet, art for art’s sake, no?” – no – Paz ambassadored India, monkeyed around with gods and grammar – letting his guard down it seems on caste (a poet appraising a poet needs to be watchful – these days more so) – pound & eliot (& others) bamboozled along the fascist way and got called out by a precious few (not by Paz though who admired eliot; a poet appraising a poet needs to be watchful) and the imprint of that carelessness is this brilliant void of the nihilist poem, all that passes off for a poem these days (watchful yet?) – back to Paz: translated by Rukeyser; perhaps an earlier attempt by another poet to grapple with an other – perhaps those poems of his are not his but hers – maybe she was just monkeying around with him, playfully letting the gods moisten the sap of antonymnity, the dialectics of being one in relation to the other – perhaps she supped enough sap to allow him to breathe through the pores of the new poem, her poem as voice, as song, a forgiving to let the other move past – there is no resultant vector in Paz: he’s a mishmash – the aesthete would call him complicated, Wittgenstein (‘untying the knots of thinking’) would just dub him confused, and Rukeyser? well she would simply have gone about playfully monkeying around with the x’s and not x’s of Paz, an exercise in mirth that hints at the deadly seriousness of moral ambiguity.

do you follow?

– ‘In literary matters, Ezra Pound advised against accepting the opinion of those “who haven’t themselves produced notable work,” and it is advice I have been privileged to follow’ – Seamus Heaney in his 1995 acceptance speech for the Nobel prize
– Ezra Pound’s open support of Mussolini’s fascism mirrors Heidegger’s love-affair with Nazism
– In spite of damning evidence of extra-judicial killings and wide scale state-sponsored massacres, progressives never tire of insisting that the monopoly of violence should rest with the state
– The state is notable
– And it advises
– Are you privileged?
– Do you follow?

We stand to wreck this distance / by the pole of
         this wretched star / longing to see peace
                              lodged in small places
         this heart weary of distance, this wretched
                       star / longing to see peace
a respectful peer dons the
green/ it is 

but the red of musk this 
muttering of

handled existentia - ask the
hurried tree

there is this need to link the solemn
with the grotesque, the

iron chain with the rot in the sewer,
mistaken smiles with

the haunting similes that prefigure
the vapors that crutch

the lie that mauls the verb that
catapults this blood