Daffy Duck in Hollywood

from Houseboat Days (1977)

        Something strange is creeping across me.
	La Celestina has only to warble the first few bars
	Of “I thought about You” or something mellow from
	Amadigi di Gaula for everything—a mint-condition can
	Of Rumford’s Baking Powder, a celluloid earing, speedy
	Gonzales, the latest from Helen Topping Miller’s fertile
	Escritoire, a sheaf of suggestive pix on greige, deckle-edged
	Stock—to come clattering through the rainbow trellis
	Where Pistachio Avenue rams the 2300 block of Highland
	Fling Terrace.  He promised he’d get me out of this one,
	That mean old cartoonist, but just look what he’s
	Done to me now!  I scarce dare approach me mug’s attenuated
	Reflection in yon hubcap, so jaundiced, so déconfit
	Are its lineaments—fun, no doubt, for some quack phrenologist’s
	Fern-clogged waiting room, but hardly what you’d call
	Companionable.  But everything is getting chocked to the point of
	Silence.  Just now a magnetic storm hung in the swatch of sky
	Over the Fudds’ garage, reducing it—drastically—
	To the aura of a plumbago-blue log cabin on
	A Gadsden Purchase commemorative cover.  Suddenly all is
	Loathing.  I don’t want to go back inside any more.  You meet
	Enough vague people on this emerald traffic-island—no,’
	Not people, comings and goings, more: mutterings, splatterings,
	The bizarrely but effectively equipped infantries of happy-go-nutty
	Vegetal jacqueries, plumed, pointed at the little
	White cardboard castle over the mill run.  “Up
	The lazy river, how happy we could be?”
	How will it end?  The geranium glow
	Over Anaheim’s had the riot act read to it by the
	Etna-size firecracker that exploded last minute into
	A carte du Tendre in whose lower right-hand corner
	(Hard by the jock-itch sand-trap that skirts
	The asparagus patch of algolagnic nuits blanches) Amadis
	Is cozening the Princesse de Clèves into a midnight micturition spree
	On the Tamigi with the Wallets (Walt, Blossom, and little
	Skeezix) on a lame barge “borrowed” from Ollie
	Of the Movies’ dread mistress of the robes.  Wait!
	I have an announcement!  This wide, tepidly meandering,
	Civilized Lethe (one can barely make out the maypoles
	And chȃlets de nécessité on its sedgy shore) leads to Tophet, that
	Landfill-haunted, not-so-residential resort from which
	Some travelers return!  This whole moment is the groin
	Of a borborygmic giant who even now
	Is rolling over on us in his sleep.  Farewell bocages,
	Tanneries, water-meadows.  The allegory comes unsnarled
	Too soon; a shower of pecky acajou harpoons is
	About all there is to be noted between tornadoes.  I have
	Only my intermittent life in your thoughts to live
	Which is like thinking in another language.  Everything
	Depends on whether somebody reminds you of me.
	That this is a fabulation, and that those “other times”
	Are in fact the silences of the soul, picked out in
	Diamonds on stygian velvet, matters less than it should.
	Prodigies of timing may be arranged to convince them
	We live in one dimension, they in ours.  While I
	Abroad through all the coasts of dark destruction seek
	Deliverance for us all, think in that language: its
	Grammar, though tortured, offers  pavilions
	At each new parting of the ways.  Pastel
	Ambulances scoop up the quick and hie them to hospitals.
	“It’s all bits and pieces, spangles, patches, really; nothing
	Stands alone.  What happened to creative evolution?”
	Sighed Aglavaine.  Then to her Sélysette: “If his
	Achievement is only to end up less boring than the others,
	What’s keeping us here? Why not leave at once?
	I have to stay here while they sit in there,
	Laugh, drink, have fine time.  In my day
	One lay under the tough green leaves,
	Pretending not to notice how they bled into
	The sky’s aqua, the wafted-away no-color of regions supposed
	Not to concern us.  And so we too
	Came where the others came: nights of physical endurance,
	Or if, by day, our behavior was anarchically
	Correct, at least by New Brutalism standards, all then
	Grew taciturn by previous agreement.  We were spirited
	Away en bateau, under cover of fudge dark.
	It’s not the incomplete importunes, but the spookiness
	Of the finished product.  True, to ask less were folly, yet
	If he is the result of himself, how much the better
	For him we ought to be!  And how little, finally,
	We take this into account!  Is the puckered garance satin
	Of a case that once held a brace of dueling pistols our
	Only acknowledging of that color?  I like not this,
	Methinks, yet this disappointing sequel to ourselves
	Has been applauded in London and St. Petersburg.  Somewhere
	Ravens pray for us.”
	The storm finished brewing.  And thus
	She questioned all who came in at the grate gate, but none
	She found who ever heard of Amadis,
	Nor of stern Aureng-Zebe, his first love.  Some
	There were to whom this mattered not a jot: since all
	By definition is completeness (so
	In utter darkness they reasoned), why not
	Accept it as it pleases to reveal itself?  As when
	Low skyscrapers from lower-hanging clouds reveal
	A turret there, an art-deco escarpment here, and last perhaps
	The pattern that may carry the sense, but
	Stays hidden in the mysteries of pagination.
	Not what we see but how we see it matters; all’s
	Alike, the same, and we greet him who announces
	The change as we would greet the change itself.
	All life is but a figment; conversely, the tiny
	Tome that slips from your hand is not perhaps the
	Missing link in this invisible picnic whose leverage
	Shrouds our sense of it.  Therefore bivouac we
	On this great, blond highway, unimpeded by
	Veiled scruples, worn conundrums.  Morning is
	Impermanent.  Grab sex things, swing up
	Over the horizon like a boy
	On a fishing expedition.  No one really knows
	Or cares whether this is the whole of which parts
	Were vouchsafed—once—but to be ambling on’s
	The tradition more than the safekeeping of it.  This mulch for
	Play keeps them interested and busy while the big,
	Vaguer stuff can decide what it wants—what maps, what
	Model cities, how much waste space.  Life, our
	Life anyway, is between.  We don’t mind
	Or notice any more that the sky is green, a parrot
	One, but have our earnest where it chances on us,
	Disingenous, intrigued, inviting more,
	Always invoking the echo, a summer’s day.