on our 21st Anniversary

Daylight at last
Pops the transom ajar,
Where a pillar of white
Slips through the dark
To glare on the glass,
Proof that the world
Has its invisible star
Whose fires beat
On the nondescript beige
Of the wall,
Sun’s volleyball heat
Reflecting the plastic,
The passive rage,
The mirrored hall
Of the planet’s elastic
On our monkey’s cage
In lines that bloom
Like inverted rays
From the window’s jail,
The projected gloom
Of the unseen day’s
Funhouse trail
Lost in the blaze
Of our sunless room.

Square Boucicaut, Paris
June 21st, 2000


On waking up on the first nice day in two weeks in Paris, I noticed that the room was filled with illusions created by the sunlight, which nevertheless was itself unseen in the shadowy gloom of our inner courtyard, where a nice day had to be only inferred by the intensity of the shade.

Somehow the outside glare had frosted the window pane and created a pillar of white, some kind of 2001-like symbol of enlightenment, superimposed on the glass, behind which lay the window bars, making me think of Hamlet’s outburst: “Denmark’s a prison.”

The bars were reflected on the printer by the indirect light. The printer itself was reflected on the wall like a hunchback’s shadow, distorted with rage, but whose rage? The sun’s, the world’s, the printer’s, mine? The rage of inanimate objects passively trapped in their moldings?

Our apartment had Hermès curtains on the tall French doors, old French mirrors, traditional curved elegant chairs (later moved to our cabin at Tippet Alley in Colorado), a grand piano with an immense sound which somehow channeled Horowitz. I saw a photo of Edith Wharton’s first Paris apartment, and it looked very much like ours, which was on the rue de Varenne, where Wharton also lived.

Real objects, unseeable to us, cast shadows on the walls of our captivity where we are frozen in the half-light of our limited vision, as Plato suggested, so the room was a perfect example of how an unseen sun, vast and distant heat, could create its opposite, the shadows of our distorted funhouse underworld.

The rhyme scheme is very scattered, pushed around by fate, not at all controlled by us, and, yet, of course, it is still a scheme, so there is some force at work behind the scenes, which might give us all hope that eventually we might make it out into the light of that more exciting day.