July 2013

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 July Poet/Po of the Month

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Kees pic 2Weldon Kees  2/24/1914 – 7/18/1955

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It is almost half a century since San Francisco police found a 1954 Plymouth Savoy on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge. On Tuesday, July 19, 1955, a highway patrol reported that the car, belonging to a Weldon Kees, had been discovered with the keys in the ignition. Two of Kees’s friends, Michael Grieg and Adrian Wilson, went to search the apartment of the missing man. There they found, among other things, his cat, Lonesome, and a pair of red socks in a sink. His wallet, watch, and sleeping bag were missing. So was his savings-account book, although the balance, which stood at more than eight hundred dollars, would remain that way. There was no suicide note.

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http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/07/04/050704crat_atlarge

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Harry Weldon Kees (February 24, 1914 – July 18, 1955) was an American poet, painter, literary critic, novelist, playwright, jazz pianist, short story writer, and filmmaker. Despite his brief career, he is considered an important mid-twentieth-century poet of the same generation as John Berryman, Elizabeth Bishop, and Robert Lowell. His work has been immensely influential on subsequent generations of poets writing in English and other languages and his collected poems have been included in many anthologies. Harold Bloom lists the publication of Kees’s first book The Last Man (1943) as an important event in the chronology of his textbook Modern American Poetry as well as a book worthy of his Western Canon.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weldon_Kees

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Weldon 3

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White Collar Ballad

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There are lots of places to go:
Guaranteed headaches at every club,
Plush-and-golden cinemas that always show
How cunningly the heroine and hero rub.
Put on your hat, put on your gloves.
But there isn’t any love, there isn’t any love.

There are endless things we could do:
Walk around the block, watch the skaters whirl,
Promenade the park or see the newest zoo,
Plan for the future in a sensible world.
The water boils on the stove,
But there isn’t any love, there isn’t any love

Our best friends lived in the house next door.
Went around to call on them the other day,
But they hadn’t left an address or a word before
They packed their bags and moved away.
We could call on the people on the floor above,
But there wouldn’t be any love, there wouldn’t be any love.

It didn’t use to be like this at all.
You wanted lots of money and I got it somehow.
Once it was Summer.  Here it’s almost Fall.
It isn’t any season now.
There are seasons in the future to be thinking of,
But there won’t be any love, there won’t be any love.

—Weldon Kees

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·         White Collar Ballad – By Weldon Kees

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Weldon kees 3Crime Club

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No butler, no second maid, no blood upon the stair.

No eccentric aunt, no gardener, no family friend
Smiling among the bric-a-brac and murder.
Only a suburban house with the front door open
And a dog barking at a squirrel, and the cars
Passing. The corpse quite dead. The wife in Florida.

Consider the clues: the potato masher in a vase,
The torn photograph of a Wesleyan basketball team,
Scattered with check stubs in the hall;
The unsent fan letter to Shirley Temple,
The Hoover button on the lapel of the deceased,
The note: “To be killed this way is quite all right with me.”

Small wonder that the case remains unsolved,
Or that the sleuth, Le Roux, is now incurably insane,
And sits alone in a white room in a white gown,
Screaming that all the world is mad, that clues
Lead nowhere, or to walls so high their tops cannot be seen;
Screaming all day of war, screaming that nothing can be solved.

-Weldon Kees

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Kees+under+Bridge+vers+2

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Kees left in Ignition

 

In the early evening

of a San Francisco bay

suppertime fog

I can see myself walking

on the bridge and him

silhouetted there ready to jump.

His foot up on the rail.

You would have had to move fast.

because he certainly was going to

……before he lost his nerve.

 

Perhaps if you had called,

Robinson Don’t!!!!

 

It might have startled him

just for that brief second.

Thrown him off his resolve

to do this thing

to bail

on all the poetry

ignored and unread

or just not written yet.

 

Abandon

Fats Waller

De Kooning

The Asphalt Jungle

The Narrow Margin.

 

He’s looking down into the water

smoking a last cigarette I suppose.

The bay breeze upon his face

the smell of salt, somewhere a gull calls

then impulse propelled

him to silently, quickly, simply

climb up and hop of the rail

to drop below into the water

a shadow dart enveloped in gray

and probably be knocked out

instantly by the concussion

of the impact

and drown.

 

Quickly.

 

With a decided lack of

theatrics or dramatics.

 

No one saw anything.

 

Investors never turned up a body.

 

It was 1955 and I was just over a month old.

Newly born into his used up world of despair

and disappointment.

 

I wish he

hadn’t been so quick

to jump the ship

of the flesh

leaving the only door

left open

to conjecture

over a staged suicide

or a vanished act in Mexico.

 

 

Maybe he didn’t

really leave the engine running

and the keys left

swinging in the ignition

of the 54 Plymouth

on the approach to the Golden Gate

shrouded in the July Fog as

night fell like the closing scene

in a RKO Radio Picture

as the Detective writes

in his notebook…

 

But why did victim

make that last payment on the

car a week before ?   

 

                                                             From Sometime Grief –barks up the wrong tree  2012     

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