Robin Blaser
from The Holy Forest
(C) 2009 Estate of Robin Blaser. Used by permission.
Great Companion: Robert Duncan


the absence was there before the meeting         the radical of
presence           and absence does not return with death's chance­
encounter, as in the old duality, life or death, wherein
the transcendence of the one translates the other into an everness
we do not meet in heaven, that outward of hell and death's
beauty    it is a bright and terrible disk
                                                                  where Jack is, where
Charles is, where James is, where Berg is   is here in the continuous
carmen   O, some things— di —breathe into—aspirate—and lead
deducite!     for the soul is a thing among many
                              Berkeley shimmers and shakes
in my mind        most lost       the absence preceded the place
and the friendships      Lady Rosario among us       of Spanish and Greek
from the hedges around the gas station,
                  swirled with Lawrence's medlars and
is it reminds us of white gods
as if with sweat     the delicious rottenness
that teems with
the life of the mind's heart                  κρατήρ of an agreement, a mixing vessel
a chasm, a threshold—βάθρον—a stair of ē
brazen steps, hollow wild pear tree—κοίλεσ τάχέρδον
—between      among
sat down

                                           I am only leonine in the
breath of night         awakening blurred neighbours      as your
faces move    Jack writing the Italian underground          we
are too tired to live like lions
    on john walls     and gay-bars
didn't laugh at the Red Lizard or the Black Cat              as your
faces move beyond me    suddenly Zukofsky joins the language,
now become larger, sharper, more a gathering than the lingo
wherein Berkeley began    the movement

                                                                          the first of your poems
I read: Among my friends love is a great sorrow (brought to me
in typescript by Jack,  1946, that we three should meet) —no voice
like it      turns, turns      in the body of thought       Among
my friends love is a wage/that one might have for an honest living

     turns, turns
                        in thought's body      becomes
     O Lovers, I am only one of you!
     We, convivial in what is ours!

                                                                  this ringing
with Dante's voice before the comedy

sorrow       and guide-dance       the courage of the work      the language
is a lion       sentinels are owls      of work's body      glamouring passages
the poem whose alongside James Hillman's thought of the heart
Jess tells me you just went, having the heart to        whose
heart?     I wish to say mine     impertinence   yours        that too
is impertinence     nevertheless, always against the heart
failures: cowardice, nostalgia, sentimentalism, aestheticizing, doubt,
vanity, withdrawal, trepidation

                                                                              fierce, you
   name many times this uprising
—political, mental, sexual, social-you name it-mounting rung by

    this climax to what overview

              under the double axe
                                                               whose heart

the lilies    burn rose-orange and yellow      buds about to,
with a touch of blood      near imagination of Blake's Eternity,
except one would be among them     flaming into one another,
not looking out there at the table, the vase, the tall, leafy stems
                         stopped over the 'Instant Mythology,' knowing
an old language from you      one-inch capsules in the hot water
break at both ends, then burst     purple, green, red, blue,
'pour enfants ages 5 ans et plus, pas comestible, chaque
capsule peut contenir: Centaure, Dragon, Pégase, Licorne,
Sirène—calling—mettez la capsule dans l'eau tiede/chaude
et regardez un caractère mythologique apparaître'    techno-myth
translates out of the real book into the way language
works      regardez!
                                    the travois of the poetic mind,
the drag-load harnessed to the body,      firely, through
the glowing flowers        warm and hot, the watery spell of
any reel of language     poluphloisboíous sea-coast

       window-rain is Heimat       sunlight travels the fingers
come subito lampo    a sudden lamp in the room outside
strikes the fir tree             horizon of eyes through passages,
sublime envelopes, and the lives raging within life

There is no exstacy of Beauty in which I will not remember Man's misery,
compounded by what we have done      sighted in ruins, neither old
    nor discontinuous
                            (I smile        it is the thought of you        a happiness
that could not be without your having been

             the permanent wall of our shape   the languages
burn and muse    the alpha-beta, like the yellow birds
(Dendoica petechia-Parulidae) disappear among spring yellowing
pricklings, of the holly as its tree renews toward winter robins
and staerlinc   wait for red berries where the inkberry is
eastern       the cherries are white among the greens, this side
or glass towers with bicycles on the balconies    almost rented the
on the 37th floor     and figs like testicles on the branches enjoy
the sexual sun
     I remember the quarrel over experience—on Greene Street—
and still think you spoke too soon of a sacred cut-out      it was the
of the actual we were both about
     what exactly do we experience in poēsis
over the neat 'I' that thinks itself a unity of things or disunity des­
perately untrue to whatever we are tied to—like one's grief or the
ing domestic realism, or the I-feel, so deep and steeply, no one
      wants to
listen without a drumhead     positivisms of the self
that die into an urn    yet, O gratefully/ I take the gift of my daily life!
the accusations were: 'fatuous,' 'rhetorical,' 'pretentious,' 'bourgeois
interior decorator' (of Pound), continuous writing of the ironing
the kitchen, recipes, the jam pots textures, tones, tastes of the world
they are not glabrous, nor is the skin, riding the earth/ round into the
sunlight again
     one wishes the positivities were falling into that Nature
of Me / that includes the cosmos it believes in
  how curious, not sad, of
all animals, not merely

                                          you came here in 1982 to read Ground Work
up to that point   no one could leave the room       of cats's fur, black
and its electric familiar       What Is
mind-store     mind-change     mindful      mind-life      Eternal
Mind        the smile
                                         the burn
                                                                   not to
want any longer to wait for the thematic release

thinking of you thinking of James Hillman thinking of Corbin—
             the idea of a unified experiencing subject vis-à-vis a world
            that is multiple, disunited, chaotic. The first person
            singular, that little devil of an I—who, as psychoanalysis
            long ago has seen is neither first, nor a person, nor
            singular—is the confessional voice, imagining itself
            to be the unifier of experience. But experience can only
            be unified by the style in which it is enacted, by the images
            which formed it, by its repetitive thematics, and by the
            relations amid which it unfolds. It does not have to be
            owned to be held. The heart in the breast is not your
            heart only: it is a microcosmic sun, a cosmos of all
            possible experiences that no one can own

                                                                                                against heart

I gather as I must images of independent realities              I,
subjected to the gaze of things, as I think of you

as you say the etymology is false,

                                                                        bringing the core,

care—κήρ—κήρ        together the heart and the goddess, who
is κήρεζ plural among things       thinking of you thinking of
Hillman thinking again, Beauty is an epistemological necessity
    thinking of
a sudden call  to climb the ladder of      which you
did not mean  because it does not mean, though
it is recited        'Never' being the name of what is infinite

        of cross-ways

                                                        of brazen