Voices on the Wind Voices from Teen Years
Skirt fauntleroy curls and velvet (from Pound Laundry) by Michael Gregory Skirt fauntleroy curls and velvet to suit the polite conceit of the day affected by presbyterian friends next door to the city of brotherly love where truth was assumed to be not merely a gleam through opacities but simple and obvious if not obscured by human malevolence corruptibility or chance taught from the cradle his every word was worth listening to, his names given and patronymic taken in vain, compounded annually from schoolyard puns to honorifics rabbinical and academic Second string on the fencing team in adolescence an art to be practiced with broomsticks if necessary when for instance locked up in Count of Monte Cristo scenes with green knights for Christmas presents dressed in high romantic attire Siegfrieds and Fafnirs from Greece to Iceland Camelot to Baghdad Terror Son of Fear Balor of the Evil Eye Grendel’s dam and Perilous Beast the manly art of self-defense including as a matter of course tactics for taking the offensive Self-reliance a second nature— nothing at the last sacred but the integrity of one’s own mind becoming what one is to others an ethical production and what one is to oneself a melding through creed or inner light good works or contemplation the mens sana realized as living world replete with imaginary friends recognized by their signatures in otherwise natural objects beneficence diversity of visionary pastoral states within the original harmony Idealistic agrarianism romantic nationalism mystic personalism one’s self surely not to be confused with what used to be called the soul yet of that selfsame energy having within itself the prolific seminal infinitude of the private self possessed as private property is possessed not to be sure as transferable stock but inalienable goods genteel proprietorship transfiguring materialism spiritualizing the sensuous Rousseau’s contract a writ of bondage to keep one from finding oneself in command of one’s own aptitude, life conceived as a problem to be solved or self-improvement regimen, said self a ragbag of throwaways unless one’s private will convinced that collective articulations are merely provisional arrangements for the single separate person yet to come, identifies it’s own well-being in the commonwealth knowing that individuals are moved first by individual conscience only later by social concerns “Skirt fauntleroy curls and velvet” is from Pound Laundry (forthcoming from Post-Soviet Depression Press), a book-length poem based on the work and life of Ezra Pound. Pound started college at the age of 15, not uncommon in those days, but with the unusual intent to “at thirty. . .know more about poetry than any man living.”