from Houseboat Days (1977)
When Edward Raban, coming along the passage, walked into the open doorway, he saw that it was raining. It was not raining much. KAKFA, Wedding Preparations in the Country The concept is interesting: to see, as though reflected In streaming windowpanes, the look of others through Their own eyes. A digest of their correct impressions of Their self-analytical attitudes overlaid by your Ghostly transparent face. You in falbalas Of some distant but not too distant era, the cosmetics, The shoes perfectly pointed, drifting (how long you Have been drifting; how long I have too for that matter) Like a bottle-imp toward a surface which can never be approached, Never pierced through into timeless energy of a present Which would have its own opinions on these matters, Are an epistemological snapshot of the processes That first mentioned your name at some crowded cocktail Party long ago, and someone (not the person addressed) Overheard it and carried that name around in his wallet For years as the wallet crumbled and bills slid in And out of it. I want that information very much today, Can’t have it, and this makes me angry. I shall use my anger to build a bridge like that Of Avignon, on which people may dance for the feeling Of dancing on a bridge. I shall at last see my complete face Reflected not in the water but in the worn stone floor of my bridge. I shall keep to myself. I shall not repeat others’ comments about me.