Saturday, November 24, 2012

Haunted Lion


Absorbing memories I'll never remember, there is only mist, the
silhouettes of ghosts
fair trade products in a global economy of loss
cobblestones wet with laughter, with the lightness
of being ephemeral
like an insect
like the gossamer web of spiders starving for lack of flies
Somewhere I wrote it down, or tried to, or meant to,
notebooks obsessed with retaining what cannot be retained,
the Danube flows inexorably through history's banality,
commissars regimes kings queens popes of absurdity,
only Art mounts a real challenge to dissipation, to the
rotting of shoes and the cough of Power, stark words
etched sentence by sentence, paint strokes against decay,
raw sculpture against the elements.
Fate decides otherwise. Fickle belief. Ideologies drift
like poisonous pollen until the bees sicken and die.
Blood on rock. Castles of hubris, the court jester
has always mocked the king. Disdain bears no allegiance.
Crowns rust. Chintz in the second hand shop. Topple
the busts from their pedestals. Sheer the sheep
for their wool time and time again 'til the crowd
bellows for mutton. Listen to the fat sizzling in the fire.

Budapest, 2012

Looking for Ginsberg in Hungary

There's a row of used book shops on Karoly Ut in Budapest, venerable shops with handsome collections of Hungarian volumes of many kinds and subject matter. In particular, I went looking for Allen Ginsberg and found two copies of A Leples Bitang (The Shrouded Stranger).

Ginsberg was popular and appreciated in Hungary, his intrinsic message of individual freedom resonated with Hungarian youth, writers, and artists who lived under Communist dictatorship. With poetry celebrating democratic sensibilities and championing free expression, Allen Ginsberg was well-represented in Hungarian publications, aided by the enthusiastic translations of Eorsi Istvan.

The volumes, in hardback, cost 800 and 1000 forint respectively (approximately $4-5 each).