Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fainting with Interest, I Hungered Back


John Berryman
As he grew famous - ah, but what is fame? -
he lost his old obsession with his name,
things seemed to matter less,
including the fame - a television team came
from another country to make a film of him
which did not him distress:

he enjoyed the hard work & he was good at that,
so they all said - the charming Englishmen
among the camera & the lights
mathematically wandered in his pub & livingroom
doing their duty, as too he did it,
but where are the delights

of long-for fame, unless fame makes him feel easy?
I am cold & weary, said Henry, fame makes me feel lazy,
yet I must do my best.
It doesn't matter, truly. It doesn't matter truly.
It seems to be solely a matter of continuing Henry
voicing & obsessed.


As a kid I believed in democracy: I
'saw no alternative' - teaching at Big Place I ah
put it in practice:
we'd time for one long novel: to a vote -
Gone With the Wind they voted: I crunched 'No"
and we sat down with War & Peace.

As a man I believed in democracy (nobody
ever learns anything): only one lazy day
my assistant, called James Dow,
& I were chatting, in a failure of meeting of minds,
and I said curious, 'What are your real politics?'
'Oh, I'm a monarchist.'

Finishing his dissertation, in Political Science.
I resign. The universal contempt for Mr. Nixon,
whom I never liked but who
alert & gutsy served us years under a dope,
since dynasty K swarmed in. Let's have a King
maybe, before a few mindless votes.


Filling her compact & delicious body
with chicken paprika, she glanced at me twice.
Fainting with interest, I hungered back
and only the fact of her husband & four other people
kept me from springing on her

or falling at her little feet and crying
"You are the hottest one for years of night
Henry's dazed eyes
have enjoyed, Brilliance." I advanced upon
(despairing) my spumoni. - - Sir Bones: is stuffed,
de world, wif feeding girls.

--Black hair, complexion Latin, jeweled eyes
downcast... The slob besides here      feasts... What wonders is
she sitting on, over there?
The restaurant buzzes. She might as well be on Mars.
Where did it all go wrong? There ought to be a law against Henry.
--Mr. Bones: There is.


  1. Aside from both having BAed in something hideous and being too much of a dope, coming up with something fresh for a master's end game is reason #7 why I avoided such graduate programming, but I like Berryman. I also like 2016 perhaps leading to the murder of the Gold Cup and something permanently hemispherical. Better to get waxed by Argentina than barely scrape by Jamaica 52% of the time and risk fooling ourselves.

  2. I appreciate the generosity of spirit on display in the excerpt from the Berryman interview.

  3. And from yesterday Avedon Carol is wrong. The Greens, including their presidential candidate, will trash the new deal, hungry children, and anything progressive in a heartbeat if it will save one damn tree. Single-minded political thinking of that sort is as ignorant on the pseudo-left as it is on the right.

  4. The Democrats, including their presidential candidate, will trash the new deal, hungry children, and anything progressive in a heartbeat if... well, they'll do that anyway, no matter how I finish that sentence.