Friday, April 1, 2016

One and Two in Neat Disguise Decapitating Mister Three


Weldon Kees

“A equals X,” says Mister One.   
“A equals B,” says Mister Two.   
“A equals nothing under the sun   
But A,” says Mister Three. A few   
Applaud; some wipe their eyes;   
Some linger in the shade to see   
One and Two in neat disguise   
Decapitating Mister Three.

“This age is not entirely bad.”
It’s bad enough, God knows, but you   
Should know Elizabethans had   
Sweeneys and Mrs. Porters too.   
The past goes down and disappears,   
The present stumbles home to bed,   
The future stretches out in years
That no one knows, and you’ll be dead.


  1. i didn't bernie-bro you, man

    if i wanted to bernie-bro you, i would say your promise to cast your vote to decide a tie between the lesser of two evils reminds me of hillary volunteering to release her bankster speeches after every other speech ever given is published

    but i wouldn't say that

    1. Nah, wasn't you, and they were teasing, mostly, as am I.

  2. Still wish there was an emoji for *affectless stare*. 😶 😐💀

  3. 1) i read ray gonzalez's poem about crossing new mexico with weldon kees, which you linked to in this post

    gonzalez's last stanza

    Kees looks at the bus schedule,
    runs out of cigarettes
    and everything is closed.
    He nods at nothing and waits
    on the bench with someone
    he swears looks like me.

    reminded me of the last two sentences of james tate's last poem which you posted an image of here a couple of weeks ago - as he typed it, there was no title, but people are referring to it as "What are the chances?"

    He was looking for someomeone who looked just like
    me and had the same name. What are the chances?

    2) and speaking of what the chances are, a different james tate wrote a last column for a car magazine/website, SuperStreet, which also included the phrase "What are the chances?"

    3) but returning to the question of identity, and people who look just like each other and yet might be in some important way substantially different, and death,

    yesterday i went to a half-day "mini-retreat" on the topic of "Transformation, the Goal of Christian Spirituality" - the presenter was father joseph chalmers, formerly prior general of the carmelite order

    he asserted that the goal of the christian life was to overcome or outgrow the "false self" - and that this process is a gradual one, and that many, perhaps most, do not fully succeed in doing so during their earthly life and continue to work on it during purgatory

    4) this reminded me of something i thought as a teenager - that perhaps the catholic concept of purgatory and the hindu/buddhist concept of reincarnation could be harmonized if THIS life is purgatory, which we cycle through again and again

    for example, see

    5) on the other hand, it could be that when you're dead you're dead all over

    we'll find out later - or not, of course