Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Xantha Street

I close my eyes and all I see is rain
And bruised mouths lined above the silverware.
But rooms are empty as the country now:
The angels rise to Heaven splendidly
On page 289, but the evening still comes on.

Poorly cast in an eighth-rate Grand Guignol
Where every agonist proclaims his purity,
One's sight grows sharper in the glass:
The climate of murder hastens newer weeds.
And crippled neighbors wear divergent frowns
That no one saw before. — Nailed up in a box,
Nailed up in a pen, nailed up in a room
That once enclosed you amiably, you write,
"Finished. No More. The end," signing your name,
Frantic, but proud of penmanship. Beasts howl outside;
Authorities, however, keep the pavements clean.

It is to them that every face is turned,
Who steady rooms this earthquake rocks,
Graphing some future, indistinct, already frayed.
These rooms of ours are those that rock the worst.
Cold in the heart and colder in the brain,
We blink in darkened rooms toward exists that are gone.


Weldon Kees
The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees
edited by Donald Justice

"[The] narrator — hero. . .is Robinson Crusoe, utterly alone on Madison Avenue,

a stranger and afraid in the world of high-pain news weeklies, fashionable galleries,
jazz concerts, highbrow movies, sophisticated reviews — the world in which Weldon Kees
was eminently successful. Whenever he said, in these gripping poems, that it filled him with
absolute horror, he meant it. On July 18, 1955 his car was found on the approach to Golden
Gate Bridge. He has never been seen since."

— Kenneth Rexroth, New York Times Book Review