Monday’s Verse, July 19, 2010

Remember last summer when I fell in love with Frederick Seidel, the
glowering New Yorker with the perverted mind, dark mood, and graceful
line? Well friends, I’m still in love, and not just because his name
spells “sick leer freed id” when the letters are all jumbled up. No,
it’s more that I found this poem in the New Yorker, published July
5th, which suggests to me that if it is meant to be historically
accurate, it must really be about LAST year’s fireworks, which I
watched from Hoboken with members of this forum. Also, he points of
the reason for the change (from East River to Hudson), and LAST year
was the change of venue; if I understand correctly this year the show
just stayed on the left hand side.

In any case, this poem raises many questions, such as what do you
really think of the grand finale at a fireworks show? Cliched?
Awesome? Worth the wait? Overwrought? Also, it reads like a sonnet but
it’s not, really. Who else writing today could fit the line “What a
joy to eat the unborn” neatly into a lyric about fireworks? -ed.

DOWNTOWN

July 4th fireworks exhale over the Hudson sadly.
It is beautiful that they have to disappear.
It’s like the time you said I love you madly.
That was an hour ago. It’s been a fervent year.
I don’t really love fireworks, not really, the flavorful floating shroud
In the nighttime sky above the river and the crowd.
This time, because of the distance upriver perhaps, they’re not loud,
Even the colors aren’t, the patterns getting pregnant and popping.
They get bigger and louder when they start stopping.
They try to rally
At the finale.
It’s the four-hundredth anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery—
Which is why the fireworks happen on this side of the island this year.
Shad are back, and we celebrate the Hudson’s Clean Water Act recovery.
What a joy to eat the unborn. We’re monsters, I fear. What monsters we’re.
We’ll binge on shad roe next spring in the delicious few minutes it’s here.

-2010

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