At 06:15 PM 9/5/2003 -0400, you wrote:
>Long Live Alan Dugan!
Indeed. Thank you, Mairead, for posting "Night Scene." When I saw the
notice of Dugan's passing today in the NY Times, I thought at once of the
poem that introduced him to me, a poem I read at a time when my marriage
was teetering. I realized only much later--having entirely missed the
implications of the Buber reference in the title--that it was and remains
one of the most extraordinary love poems I've ever read.
Love Song: I and Thou
Nothing is plumb, level or square:
the studs are bowed, the joists
are shaky by nature, no piece fits
any other piece without a gap
or pinch, and bent nails
dance all over the surfacing
like maggots. By Christ
I am no carpenter. I built
the roof for myself, the walls
for myself, the floors
for myself, and got
hung up in it myself. I
danced with a purple thumb
at this house-warming, drunk
with my prime whiskey: rage.
Oh I spat rage's nails
into the frame-up of my work:
It held. It settled plumb.
level, solid, square and true
for that one great moment. Then
it screamed and went on through,
skewing as wrong the other way.
God damned it. This is hell,
but I planned it I sawed it
I nailed it and I
will live in it until it kills me.
I can nail my left palm
to the left-hand cross-piece but
I can't do everything myself.
I need a hand to nail the right,
a help, a love, a you, a wife.
As was said: bless him, praise him.
"Sometimes the veil between human intelligence and animal intelligence
wears very thin--then one experiences the supreme thrill of keeping a cat,
or perhaps allowing oneself to be owned by a cat."--Catherine Manley