Paul Muldoon: the cuffs!


So what do you think of Irish poet Paul Muldoon, migrant to the USA, teacher of Creative Writing, and poetry editor of a weekly journal, flaunting cuffs whiter than his hosts’ teeth (tactical error!) on a visit to Washington to mingle with the crème de la crème of the political shark pool? For some strange reason this photo opportunity reminds me of my poem “The Duck Abandons Hollywood” (the poem is related to Ashbery’s “Daffy Duck in Hollywood”, though distantly, and the title is meant to remind you of the title of Cavafy’s poem “The God Abandons Antony”, though the poem is largely borrowed from — I think — Wordsworth’s “Daffodils”) as follows:

I flew my long uphill glide to immortality
solo, on flammable celluloid. O idle frenzy,
stockpiling cans of cartoons – and what splashy
comeback glitters next week? Fat chance!
this taunt from a gaggle of my dusky betters
dabbling around the lagoon – better? because
more ‘natural’! My siblings babbling scuttlebutt –
me, guilty? of what betrayal? Human gestures
dignify my tribe, those phantoms in the chalky beam
heal while they gyp and flim-flam. Past tense! –
yes, radical as any Method stratagem, my hackery
deified suburban angst, bum gigs, tantrums.
Steering thus through fits and suffering,
I grew complex – a troubadour could not but be
bisexual, I reckon, in such a wiggle rig. Vain
fakery, stars mutter, swapping their knacks
back and forth amid the smoke and buzz in Lindy’s.
I’m still chipper – no, those soul-sisters flapped
and cackled in my bad dream; they damned me, then
gulped their bubbly gush, and giggled – puzzling mirth…

I’m a chronic dope, sure thing, fondling this enigmatic image – oh, whacked out in my den I drivel, in spent or flaky vein. Up there my horrid flocks dis­robe upon that indifferent retina which is the paradise of quarantine – what’s each verbal mouthful worth, what are dreams patched up from – water-colours in a box? And when I tally up what booty this greed for godhood got me – numbers flicker, blank screen – my feathered bulk chokes on misery, and nods off with the spirits – mayhap in our 3-D Cinerama Hunting-Ground we’ll reminisce and chortle – crystal spirits in a jug of hooch.