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Volvo Dealer Waiting Room (or Fun with Wallace Stevens)

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  • Volvo Dealer Waiting Room (or Fun with Wallace Stevens)

    The seeming floor seemed a metaphor for
    An abstract-concrete that had been before

    All that which hangs suspended underfoot
    And glows orange in the un firm firmament

    Of numbers — were vapors, but edged ones.
    The filtering, light brown light was a large

    One, entering from above and stage right,
    A metaphor, formerly an abstraction,

    A refraction, and though it had edges,
    The light was not numbers but were as words

    Before these words were aware of awareness,
    And, in hubris, scribed a rhombus on the floor,

    Which was not a floor where Cubans dance rumbas
    Round about a purple pinioned parrot,

    That closes a green lid on a velvet eye,
    And though flies sightless doth still signify

    That which although neither numbers and nor words
    But that which were as were a wordless poem

    Of commitment! — which is an act & not a word —
    So Sartre's succinct comment to el Che,

    That some unknown but knowable evil
    Should foment, should concrete be made abstract —

    or is it the other way around?
    I cannot say with any certitude.

    A white-shirted man looks up from his reading,
    Seeming mere outline and void facelessness.

    He — with kind precision — corrects his
    Young son, who plays quietly on the floor,

    That is not a floor. He is not numbers
    Nor words nor a poem. He resumes reading.

  • #2
    This is genius, John Wertz. It's funny, it's profound, it has wonderful sound, skillful wielding of devices, learned references. The way you end it is outSTANDING. Not enough likes! Salutes galore!


    • John Wertz
      John Wertz commented
      Editing a comment
      I am so glad you like this, Grant. I was not sure how someone might take it. I could never imitate Yeats, nor you, but I thought I could give Wallace Stevens a shot. He admitted at one point that a lot of his stuff was gibberish. The white shirted man I saw while I was getting my car service -- unusual because he was such a competent parent. I'm not sure how he and Stevens would get along.

    • grant hayes
      grant hayes commented
      Editing a comment
      Ah but it's good gibberish, John; gibberish full of little worlds whirling in and out of each other. I actually detected traces of T S Eliot at some points.

    • John Wertz
      John Wertz commented
      Editing a comment
      I've done a couple of T S Elliot type pieces -- free verse, varying line lengths, rhyming here and there. Harder than I thought.

  • #3
    This is not a poem for the unread, uneducated, unthinking, of which I am sadly a part. Nonetheless, I did partake of much wordplay, consistent contradiction and playfulness, mixed with seemingly profound philosophical references. I am happy to know that some gibberish may have been involved, as it would somewhat justify my inability to extract concrete from the abstract. This is a substantial piece of work, and somewhat grantian in the sense that it takes a common, everyday experience and fills it full of wonder and mystery, bringing all the viewable elements abstractly into its fold, just as God, were there one, would have intended.

    Oh, yes. I like it.


    • John Wertz
      John Wertz commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks MHenry, Don't know how you feel about Stevens. Actually, I like some of his poems very much, but in many he seems inhuman and mechanical, unlike say William Carlos Williams.