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Gulf Music: Poems

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    pinsky, as in satguru

    Before a rapt audience, Robert Pinsky recently stepped to the podium of the Fullerton Room of the venerable Art Institute of Chicago. He acknowledged the richness of the place and the art itself 21st century Chicago has become. With his uncommon grace and usual dignity, the former Poet Laureate of the United States hesitate, looked around the filled to capacity auditorium, paused, and began,<BR/><BR/> I drowned in the fire of having you, I burned<BR/> In the river of not having you, we lived<BR/> Together for hours in a house of a thousand rooms<BR/> And we were parted for a thousand years.<BR/> Ten minutes ago we raised our children who cover<BR/> The earth and have forgotten that we existed<BR/><BR/> It was not maya, it was not a ladder to perfection,<BR/> It was this cold sunlight falling on this warm earth.<BR/><BR/> When I turned you went to Hell. When your ship<BR/> Fled the battle I followed you and lost the world<BR/> Without regret but with stormy recriminations.<BR/> Someday far down that corridor of horror the future<BR/> Someone who buys this picture of you for the frame<BR/> At a stall in a dwindled city will study your face<BR/> And decide to harbor it for a little while longer<BR/> From the waters of anonymity, the acids of breath<BR/><BR/>Then silence. And caught in my seat by the crashes of his verse, I heard Pinsky say, ¿ `Antique¿, from Gulf Music, it¿s the second to last poem in the book.¿ Almost whimsically he continued, ¿I was angry at the time I wrote it. I was angry with, with Bush, and Cheney, and Gonzales, and our foreign policy. Then it just became something else. It evolved into something else.¿ More silence. And from what I could tell, no one exhaled.

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