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Beginning With an Acute Stab of Nostalgia, It Gets Worse and Worse

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I called Hart on my longer distance line
And in case you didn’t know he is in heavine.
Hart, I implored, I searched your book
(Yes, you have a Collected) and could fine
Nothing about the 36 cast iron bridges in
Central Park, why didn’t you write about one
At least. He said he wrote about the narrow Bow Bridge
For peds built in 1878 which is sad and fine
And always photographed through branches in the foregrine
Which was sufficiently sad to make him weep all the tine
He was trying to write the poem so he threw it away.
He tried again and he uncontrollably wept agine.
Did you try a third tine,
I asked. No, he said, and here’s why:
Life is uncontrollably sad all the time
Unless we divert ourselves with art objects,
Sex, or tequila or beer, and if we tell the truth
About this, for instance when we feel it
While looking at a photograph of the cast ine
Bow Bridge or see in life not photos but the real bridge at a short destine
Away with the actual park and branches around us,
We feel like killing ourselves to stop the pain
Or as you, Arthur, call it, the pine,
So I didn’t try a third time
To write the poem. Get off this line,
He said. Wait! Don’t hang up, he said, I take it back, stay on the phine!

Well, I considered calling on my second longer distance line
Kenneth who in heavine has changed his name to Kenneth Kine
And Barbara who I did call on my second longer distance line
With Hart on hold and affirmed her name change to Barbara Gine
But I didn’t ask those younger two about uncontrollable totally dominant sadness
Or whether they had discarded their own poems about the 36 cast ine
Bridges for people to walk on in Central Park
Because they were weeping on the paper and pine
Ing for Hart’s Big Deep Salty Lake to ease the pine.
I didn’t call Frank because I never knew hine I mean him.
I figured the next step was mine.
So if you can believe it I hung up on Hart Crine.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2010)

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

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Beginning With an Acute Stab of Nostalgia, It Gets Worse and Worse

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  • Arthur Vogelsang was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and earned a BA in English at the University of Maryland, an MA from the Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University, and an MFA the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. From 1973-2006 Vogelsang served as an editor of the American Poetry Review. Vogelsang’s editing career also includes Metro Book Co. (1983-2002) and the Ark River Review (1971-80), and he has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, University of Nevada, University of Redlands, Kansas Arts Commission Workshops, and the University of Southern California. His books of poetry are A Planet (1983), Twentieth Century Women (1988), selected by John Ashbery for the Contemporary Poetry Series, Cities and Towns (1996), which won the Juniper Prize, Left Wing of a Bird (2003), and Expedition: New & Selected Poems (2011).
    A poet who takes as much from the New York School as from the Metaphysicals, Vogelsang’s images bespeak...

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