Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Beantown Munster Mash (Jan. 2004)

All this privilege
is for the sale: To fly
toe to head of the USA
into Boston’s old wealth
and decrepitude where it.s
midwinter -- Streetside busters
bundled high against the cold
and as contemporary as
it gets. Beantown, churches
older than the country,
billboards praising the
world champ Patriots
and Kerry kicking ass
on the campaign trail.
All of it shouts not
welcome but an ebullience
which is good for the sale
I’m here to make, coffers
spilling fortuitous coin
round the ankles of
this conference of publishers
and editors. Perhaps I’m
just psyching myself up
for motions I mostly fake
so my wife and I can have a
nice house in sleepy
Mount Dora. I love her
and all that enough
(too much, perhaps)
that I go willingly down
from this twelfth-floor room
with a view of a wall
of more rooms into a
the selling pit, facing
from my overcolored &
overbright booth
a table where prim
members of the Society
of Professional Journalists
hawk a more respectable
sale to respectable
journalists. Those guys
must see my pitch
and grind their teeth
at the mercenary worst.
Seems my work has always
been subterranean, the worst
bottom-feeding enterprise:
menial stock-jobs in
the corporate bowels,
HR drone, polisher
of the pitch, the sales
guy in the editorial
operation -- selves I’ve
minted to curry favor
with a live which involves
a mortgage, cats, my wife.
And do it willingly, in this
great heart of love.
Though as I soon must
shut this book and rev
the engines of that day,
this voice goes under
as it long has known
it must, the predawn
empire of song by
first light sealed-up,
gone. In my totem
province of Munster,
everything is first
and last, peopled with
losers and loansharks
of political fee and kings
and goddesses crowned in
the under-empire Shee.
Munster is the magic South,
the resonance inside
Oran’s buried, busy mouth;
crossain of high disrepute
buzzard and crow their
satires too, low jesters endowed
with huge cudgels and
balls like New Grange’s
portal stone. Yet that
buried self is much in
the suited-up salesman
who.s begun to prep his
pitch to those who at worst
see me as an evil in
the trade, or worst, employ
me to cut off those earnest
voices who.d rather waste
newsprint covering real news.
A sweet-talking man wearing
a tie conceals a far-distant
ancient man, who neither
scowls nor cries but knows
what spectra he sings in
best -- blue, bluer than sex
or death or coin or profit --
so smiles, yawns, comes
to the end of the page,
and shelves this gorgeous smash
of waves unseen to all
in my wild Munster mash.


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