A Poem for Speculative Hipsters
He had got, finally,
to the forest
of motives. There were no
owls, or hunters. No Connie Chatterleys
on their backs, having casually
and their opposites
he was really
He wore his pants
hip. He dug Hemingway
too. But his father
“Son, your taste
Thus he saddened
boosters of output—
all the time
arguing with them
Bought to use as a last resort, Bought to impress the statuary...
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?
C.P. Cavafy, Waiting for the Barbarians”
For 303: A modernist poem from the Depression era.
For 415: A poem about the commodity.
Kenneth Fearing, “Green Light” (from Angel Arms)
Bought at the drug store, very cheap; and later pawned. After a while, heard on the street; seen in the park. Familiar, but not quite recognized. Followed and taken home and slept with. Traded or sold. Or lost. Bought again at the corner drug store, At the green light, at the patient's demand, at nine o'clock. Re-read and memorized and re-wound. Found unsuitable. Smashed, put together, and pawned. Heard on the street, seen in a dream, heard in the park, seen by the light of day; Carefully observed one night by a secret agent of the Greek Hydraulic Mining Commission, in plain clothes, off duty. The agent, in broken English, took copious notes. Which he lost. Strange, and yet not extraordinary. Sad, but true. True, or exaggerated, or true; As it is true that the people laugh and the sparrows fly; As it is exaggerated that the people change, and the sea stays; As it is that the people go; As the lights go on and it is night and it is serious, and just the same; As some one dies and it is serious, and the same; As a girl knows and it is small, and true; As the corner hardware clerk might know and it is true, and pointless; As an old man knows and it is grotesque, but true; As the people laugh, as the people think, as the people change, It is serious and the same, exaggerated or true. Bought at the drug store down the street Where the wind blows and the motors go by and it is always night, or day; Bought to use as a last resort, Bought to impress the statuary in the park. Bought at a cut rate, at the green light, at nine o'clock. Borrowed or bought. To look well. To ennoble. To prevent disease. To entertain. To have. Broken or sold. Or given away. Or used and forgotten. Or lost. http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88v/fearing.html