Autumn of 1965. San Raphaël. I had taken the train down for a few days on the Côte-d’azur before returning up to Grenoble for my immersion. Perhaps because I had just spent my first ten days in Paris and roamed its museums ravenously as much in quest of a woman as out of appreciation of art, the poems I can date to this period are pictorial, static, masturbatory. When I cast myself back into the state of my mind then, more adolescent than fully adult and deeply marked by not so much the poetry as my received image of Rimbaud, I recall a drop cloth of pervasive sadness illuminated by convulsive shifts of mood, much more expressionist than the scene here. The havoc of my emotions was indeed a pose — in fact, it was posed behind some psychic proscenium, as if I were my own audience. This poem reveals me to have been much more Apollonian than the Dionysian I imagined myself to be.


Open wide the window
which gives to the sun.
Rock on the rhythms
of a passing phrase

in a foreign tongue.
Such is the air, seen
to be unseen, that we
can measure and mime
the sun’s slow time.

Clocks interfer.
Compare the beat as
shadows slice off glare
and a Degas bather,
in some cool room,
brushes her hair.