This poem was written as part of a Writers House mini-symposium on "the future of institutions" organized by Josh Schuster and joined by Shawn Walker and Mike Magee. The triads are meant as a kind of logical - or fractured syllogistic - terza rima. (April 1999)
The future of institutions(after Madeline Tiger)Institutions begin in illness and end in civics. High school was always the opposite. College begins in theology and ends in athletics. Baseball was always the opposite. Alcoholism begins in detention and ends in sociology. Sociology was always the opposite. This poem begins in psychiatry and ends in carpentry, sawing logs back into chairs. Bob Perelman begins in language and ends in modernism. Susan Sontag was the opposite. The chair began in healthy exhaustion and ends in sadomasochism. The Weather Underground, Primo Levi, sit yourselves down. Once Richard broke a window with a home run and I got blamed by the angry, lunatic neighbor. Alcoholism, sociology, baseball. Suburbia began the night after D-Day, when all the boys dreamt of home. Noel Coward was always the opposite. Pacifica Radio began in Anarchism and ends by marking time. Where have you gone, Kenneth Rexroth? Her love began with him, and ended in chat rooms. Y2K will be everything they say. Order began in disorder, Florida began with the Sephardim, Paris was liberated by Levitt. Free Mumia Abu Jamal! Bang! Free F. Scott Fitzgerald! Bang! Take that--and that, you fool. Levittown will end in exhaustion. The modern will end in a whimper. There will be no more opposites.. I see DiMaggio chatting with the neighbor I see me holding a bat but innocent. Millenialism will end very shortly. Mamie never actually knew Betty Crocker. Picasso never knew the face of Spain. Allen Ginsberg, not Gus Hall, was the last communist. Now the same boys are dying Eisenhower never golfed in their dreams. Walk up on the beach, and lay yourself down.
Last modified: Monday, 31-Jul-2006 18:14:56 EDT