Keith Waldrop

Keith Waldrop (born Emporia, Kansas, 1932) teaches at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and, with Rosmarie Waldrop, is editor of the small press Burning Deck. Recent books include translations of Anne-Marie Albiach and Claude Royet-Journoud. Forthcoming this spring are three titles: Transcendental Studies, a book of poems (University of California Press), Several Gravities, a book of collages (Siglio Press) and a translation of Baudelaire's Paris Spleen: little poems in prose (Wesleyan University Press).

Poorly Grounded Notions Poorly Grounded Notions

And an inability to comprehend the flow of time. We need only think of statements by everybody. I cannot call my- self myself. Up to this point, the dreamer is dreaming, but now his dream begins. Unities of recollection, separate from one another. Thus in this present world, there are different injuries. I never hear them. They come uninvited. Silver tissue. Garlands between them. Any activity may produce music. Aware of their existence as an awareness of losing their sense of ex- istence: vague, general, nameless, like a nothing or the absolute. I am dead. I am not alive, a music of exceeding shrillness. May be pleasantly illustrated in the following way. Light on his head. Felicitous, contains some fabrication. I am forced to shout out, trace failure to the stage when plans are construed. I see a table before me. I am reminded of another table. I place table beside table. Separate worlds. In what sense are we talking?

Nov 19, 2008 / Books & the Arts / Keith Waldrop

The Sea-Fight Tomorrow The Sea-Fight Tomorrow

Afraid to take a chance. They pass haphazardly in all directions. Diving into his car. Or yours. Are there no strangers in town? Entering, leaving, crossing. I cross to the window and wave. Everybody looks alike. Pyramids. It must be somebody who has a house in the country. He said he would. Characteristic kinesthetic and tactile deficits on opposite sides of the body. Something clicked somewhere. It's got to be airtight on the other end. The butterfly-shaped central gray. Who is this man? It was a restful ride. The transition gradual, without sharp demarcation. The house was full of pictures. The night man was gone. Important changes from level to level. I pretend to listen.

Nov 19, 2008 / Books & the Arts / Keith Waldrop

Night Soil Night Soil

A random walk, its ordinary motion blurring chronology. Behind, a seascape. As if on a ship's deck. Fear of defeat is an old habit. All this fuss, with my hat pushed back. Honeyed phantastic. En- raptured soul. Another blow. From the end of the corridor, at the kitchen window. These frosts are cruel. I am not up to them. Out on the balcony, basking. History is trash. Elaborate battles make peace and then, after spectacular defeat, I may go and I may not. I'm in a bad mood, forever. We bring no resemblance. Torment and dreams. Grotesque and in- clement. Always the same amazing luck. Rest before the fireplace, forget fine spacing. To control noise by attacking the odds. Grope for the knob. Shutting out light and air. Cold stone floor. Sinking. Devouring pit. Dissolve, now, the dungeon. Streaks of light stream from your shadow. Redisposed. Clouds are not simply carried. We observe words and winds. The door slams behind us. Not so much forced by the sun as simply coasting under our own inertia. The knives of reality. Repeat the names. Doves, when they fight. Scorn is best and yes, we may go and we may not.

Nov 19, 2008 / Books & the Arts / Keith Waldrop