Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bleeker Street has lost a dragon   [boomerang poem]


Bleeker Street has lost a dragon
        shouldn't one see its traces?

strike the drum or lift the flagon
        putting you through your paces

        many the empty places
blooming with the news of Nagrin

        Maya her scroll erases
Bleeker Street has lost a dragon


Bleeker Street has lost a dragon
        sing from Basaavanagudi

what's the race we run or lag in?
        why has the mode gone moody?

        celestina from Punch & Judy?
strike up strings again for Nagrin

        choo-choo brings tutti-frutti
Bleeker Street has lost a dragon


Bleeker Street has lost a dragon
        weeping a tear   beloved?

what's the play we soar or sag in?
        isn't it clear   beloved?

        life is here   beloved
where the streams flow rife for Nagrin

        chanticleer   beloved
Bleeker Street has lost a dragon

an elegy for Lee Nagrin

from d.i. in Bangalore

many the empty places: cf. W.S. Merwin, "Search Party"
maya: creative principle underlying the great world-illusion
Basaavanagudi: (or Basavanagudi; I double the "aa" to note the long syllable) -- a neighborhood in Bangalore (where I'm staying w/ friends at the moment)
celestina: an antique musical instrument (same or similar to the glass harpsichord?) with a fine, high, heavenly tone; (also, name of a figure in Cervantes' Don Quixote)
Punch & Judy: stock figures in 19th century puppetry (antecedent to early 20th century Vaudeville characters); but the Wikipedia entry notes a longer European history
tutti-frutti: among cries of food-hawkers who repeatedly pass through the aisle on India's distinctive trains, are: "pani water" (enjoyably redundant -- inasmuch as "pani" means "water" in Hindi) / "masala chai" (spiced tea) / and "tutti-frutti" (signifying, a small fruit-juice box)
chanticleer: employed (neologistically) as a verb: to call like hen or rooster


Space Bar said...

david, nice to see you blogging again. hope you're enjoyign bangalore. did i tell you my book's out? ill mail you!

David Raphael Israel said...

plsase do -- I know we've corresponded, but at the moment I've grown a bit foggy as to who "space bar" is :-)

Yes, enjoying Bangalore . . .