Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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[In London, 1973, watching Ultimo Tango a Parigi]

In London, 1973, watching Ultimo Tango a Parigi
From the theater’s balcony, might I not have

Seen you through smoke broken by
The light from the projector, or among those others

Who walked out into humidity after Paul, 48, is shot
And Jeanne, 19, holds the gun she fired, and

Yet I drop from another day, the air dieselized
And silted with Thames water and the near-knowledge

That edges are best kept edgy, the edge of the street
Where I fall into traffic, the remembered black

And white buzzing in living rooms of Edge
Of Night, or the way the blinded Earl of Gloucester

Jumps off the edge of the cliff and dies on
The way down, crumpled into nothingness,

And Marlon Brando also years after weighing in
At twice what I weigh, weighted down, thirty

Years earlier crumpling on the Parisian balcony, his
Last act sticking chewing gum under the railing,

And the page I am reading turns itself, and
The trellis that holds up the rows of grapes

Tumbles over, of its own free will and decay,
Wooden to pieces, stabbed by weather, heart

Impaled by what isn’t heart, for a couple
Of hours in the darkness, the time it takes

For night to take hold, when I want the lights
Out or just down for a moment, hand ready on the switch.


pannier: pack on the sides of a bike, from panarium, breadbasket; Atlantic ’ Pacific Tea, National Tea; Last Tango in Paris, 1972; pony; pablum, a trademark; package store; paczki, Polish for doughnut (poonch’ ke); slow down of speech; page: pageant, trellis to which a row of vines is attached, hence (by metaphor) a column of writing, page, AHD; palisade: fence of pales; pale/impale; pallid; palmate: shape of a hand; Brando, sword, fiery torch, 300 pounds, 135 kg., Maria Schneider, tailor, snyder  

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