Tuning

By Keith Waldrop b. 1932 Keith Waldrop
Herr Stimmung—purblind—moves in corporeal time.
 
    Think how many, by now, have escaped the world’s memory.
 
    Think, how all his wandering is only thought. Having once tried to
live in the quasi-stupor of sensation, now he picks his way through
areas of spilth, seeking the least among infinite evils.
 
    His hope: intermittent.
 
    To a person so little conscious, what would it mean to die? Though
he feels, true enough, death’s wither-clench. Thinking always of
something permanent, watching the while how everything goes on
changing.
 
    He has seen where Speed is buried. Eyes exorbitant.
 
    He has the tension of male and female: active, divided. Anger and
lust. What he eats tastes exactly like real food.
 
    He would search out interphenomena, if he could decipher the
interstices. The broken line. Immediate havoc. Circular heaven.
Square earth. He cries world world, and there is no world.
 
    He claims superiority over the other animals, being the only one
who can talk, the only one to have doubts.
 
    Herr Stimmung knows a whale is big. Its skeleton might shelter a
dozen men.
 
    Not existing, not subsisting—insisting. Not object, not subject—
eject. (He works within opposed systems, every one of them opposed
to system.)
 
    “Fillette”—in confusion he addresses himself—“n’allez pas au bois
seulette.”
 
    He knows who is allowed to wear what kinds of beads. He knows
how fruit trees are inherited. All his self-objects lie in the inoperative
past.
 
    Herr Stimmung springs from a long undocumented ancestry.
 
    He has a special attitude towards terror.

Keith Waldrop, “Tuning” from The House Seen from Nowhere. Copyright © 2002 by Keith Waldrop. Reprinted by permission of Litmus Press.

Source: The House Seen from Nowhere (Litmus Press, 2002)

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Poet Keith Waldrop b. 1932

Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Free Verse