Wednesday, December 5, 2007

From "Regalia for a Black Hat Dancer," by Robert Hass

This was a time when,
in the universities, everyone was reading Derrida.
Who'd set out to write a dissertation about time;
he read Heidegger, Husserl, Kant, Augustine, and found
that there was no place to stand from which to talk about it.
There was no ground. It was language. The scandal
of nothingness! Put cheerfully to work by my colleagues
to dismantle regnant ideologies. It was a time when,
a few miles away, kids were starting to kill each other
in wars over turf for selling drugs, schizophrenics
with matted hair, dazed eyes, festering feet, always engaged
in some furious volleying inner dialogue they neglected,
unlike the rest of us, to hide, were beginning to fill the streets,
'de-institutionalized,' in someone's idea of reform,
and I was searching in the rosebed of a rented house
inch by inch, looking under the carseat where the paper clips
and Roosevelt dimes and unresolved scum-shapes of once
vegetal stuff accumulate in abject little villages
where matter hides while it transforms itself. Nothing there.
I never found it.


Sarah said...

"from" - is there a place I could get the full poem? I like it.

Andrew said...

I don't know if it's available online--I haven't checked--but it is in the volume of poems titled Sun Under Wood.