Thursday, January 7, 2010

Poem: "Like Breasts on the Copier" - references

Philippe de Montebello

Like Breasts on the Copier

Well, you see, that’s because I’m what
the I Ching would call “superior”
at least until it met me. From afar
I shimmer like faerie wings and
carry myself aloft, inclining the
Changing Book to incline like a
changing table, tired of all the crying,
given the universality of poop
and luxury of its being wiped away,
like sin by grace. While I write this,
a lucky few grow into new humanness,
nourished by intravenous opposition to
heroin injections, and infants are rolling
to the floor, by the dozens, and what
does it matter -- they are Xeroxed like
breasts on the copier, facsimiled like
timesheets, imagined in oils so
someday even after the great
Philippe de Montebello moves on,
I can give a howdy to the observing
curves of Qu Ding's Summer Mountains,
indifferent to my foolish superiority.
Sarah Sarai: The Future Is Happy (BlazeVOX [books], 2009)

Just to do it, I'm going to verify, or try to remember, references in this poem. I wrote the first draft in 2008 when I was proofreading at a law firm. That's a joy of low pay--time to work. The original title was "Intravenous Opposition" and referred to a friend who had used heroin recreationally much of his life and had to be coaxed to minimal optimistim.

The I Ching, at least in the Bollingen edition, often makes reference to the Superior Man. That person is skilled in detachment. I Ching can also be translated as Changing Book. Skilled is a Buddhist (or American Buddhist) word.  

Changing tables.  I think of the changing table at the Barnes and Noble on the upper west side, near Columbus Circle. It is spacious in accommodation of babes. Those of us who don't have babies don't have to face the body's demands in quite the same way.
Copying breasts or butts on the firm Xerox is the basic right of a slacker though not every slacker's breasts or butt have been Xeroxed.

The poem ends in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Its great former director, Philippe de Montebello, succeeded at sharing concepts of grandness of art, of grandness of love for art.  Qu Ding's Summer Mountains is in the collection. Like the Cascades or Rockies, this painting withholds answers and proves its perfection. It observes.

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