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Catalogue Raisonn of My Refrigerator Door

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for Joshua Starbuck, master of montage

A Caledonian megalith.
A tinted bather from Cape Ann.
The 1937 kith
and kin of a Kentuckian
beside their Model T sedan.
The Celts. Who set me this arith-
metic of icons? Who began
by pasting in Bob Dylan? Zith-
erpicking rhinestone charlatan.
He tries to be American.

Who tries to be American
as hard as him? Not Aly Khan.
Not George F. Babbitt the Zenith-
ophiliac Zenithian.
As sure as God made Granny Smith
a pricier-sounding product than
the Winesap or the Jonathan,
there is a mystery and myth
to being an American,
and being an American

compounds it. Kurosawa-san,
steady my Nikon while I pan
across the porches of forsyth-
iabedizened Mattapan
in search of ... dot dot dot ... the plan,
the weltanschauung, the ethnith-
ifying principle a pith
helmeted Oxbridge fancy-dan
could pounce on like a fiend from Ran
and authenticate forthwith.

The cromlech beetles o’er the frith.
The ultimate American
possession rattles his Kal-Kan,
Prince, you’re a prince. A dog a man
can talk to. What this caravan
of adumbrations and antith-
esises panteth for is Dith
Pran and the long-lost Mrs. Pran:
Far-fetched, tenacious, captious: fan
tabulously American.


George Starbuck, “Catalogue Raisonné of My Refrigerator Door Of Late” from The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades. Copyright © 2003 by University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa). Reprinted with the permission of The University of Alabama Press.
Source: The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades (2003)

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This poem originally appeared in the October/November 1987 issue of Poetry magazine

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Catalogue Raisonn of My Refrigerator Door

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