selections from:


seven poems in two sets and a coda

by John Matthias


(1) Latin: both a ball to play with and a game played by ancient Romans involving three players standing in a triangle. Players caught with the right hand and threw with the left. Cf. Petronius, Satyricon, where the pilecripus, or score-keeper, does not count the number of times the players successfully pass the ball, but instead the number of balls that drop on the ground. A joke? Or the actual method of scoring? (2) Astrology: three member signs of triplicity and third harmonic, 120 degrees, the most influential major essay aspect; blends planetary energies, harmoniously indicating the ease of expression; a group of three signs belonging to the same element: Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius); Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn); Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces). (3) D.C. Comics: all-powerful ruler of an alternate dimension who wishes to extend his influence to the Earth. Cf. Mephisto. (4) Music: A three-sided ancient Greek or Roman lyre. A neume of obscure interpretation used in the notation of manuscripts from the Abbey of St. Gall. A German based fusion band characterized by many changes in its line-up and by jamming as a source for their music. (5) Gemology: triangular etch pits seen on natural surfaces of a diamond. (6) Poetics: A set of three poems each in seven sectons of varying length. May involve many changes in their line-up and jamming as a source of music. (7) Plural: Logic puzzles published by Dell Magazines and others; title of a book by John Matthias.

from Trigon Two: I - III


Aruski Rehab


           . . . alum from Esalen sat through safe-house
afternoons in Spaso Place	unbugging lamps and fixtures
in her mind as the ambassador himself
directed work  on redwood hot tub where diplomacy could be
less formal and in fact stark naked
odd to think all this was under Reagan though we might
remember Nancy had her own psychics
in the days John Denver sang Let us Begin and Russian healers
walked by moonlight widdershins around
the long and short of Wo Es War a great distance from the days
in London when Diana had been positively vetted 
and been turned down for service in The Firm because she
lived at sister Lady Kennet’s place and had been seen 
with people like myself at Covent Garden
shouting Bravo! Bravo!   at the end of Onegin 

and The Queen of Spades, The Gambler and The Nose 
I was a fan of Russian opera then &  D was
a language student of the former secretary of the
British CP in Hull whose standing joke was that
she had “connections”  –  meaning that she met a lot of 
Labor Party types among the toffs and tipplers just by virtue
of her fashionable address on Bayswater Rd. 
everybody had a file at MI5 in those days even Harold Wilson
if you know that name myself I lived in Islington 
with Igor who was busted for inciting riots on Trafalgar Square
and photographed at Heathrow handing over papers to
the agents from Hanoi it was a heady time that first trip to
CCCP disguised as a musico-literary scholar when I
hitched a ride on Charlie Newman’s manuscript (Ilyushin) 
Child’s History (Swallow Press, 1969) it would record
what he was doing there but leave me out entirely which was
what I asked – 

           I thought I might obtain an interview with
Shostakovich Charlie saying why not try for Guy Burgess
that would be a real coup I’ll give you his address
you like to play at spies and this would be the real thing of
course so Wo Es War Soll Ich Werden don’t you
think?  I thought it odd that D had been recruited by the
Russian Orthodox babushkas rather than the MI5 
by charismatic Bishop Anthony as chorister at Enismore Gardens
all presided over by the family of Aliosha Behrs


grandson of Sonia Tolstoy’s brother.
                                                        The sign would be an
overcoat hanging on a park bench beside the
Neva with a nose wrapped in pages from Akhmatova’s 
Poem Without a Hero in the pocket 
Igor was to stay in Islington waiting for the word from me
since he couldn’t manage after all to make the trip
busy as he was as wine steward in the house of	 
Doctor Wisdom (actually a person, you can look him up)
which we rented as a Home Without a Zero 
it befuddles to this day real estate agents and philosophers
globalized economists and simple thieves
who may have been invited to the same conference 
Music and Your Memory: A.R. Luria and students to
administer the Luria-Nebraska Neuropsychological exam
comparing a placebo group to brain-computer interface
results from dead composers cyrosuspended in 
the crystals of their songs
                                               so if you wished to send
a trace through time alone you needed all 
the precious five – a way to touch the sound and sound
the depth of seeing hear the color shaping as an image while you
sniffed the brandy of the damned delighted in the flavor of 
the yellow flower blooming from a chord	  Charlie feared at once
that he was being watched     his watermarked stationery
headed Young Americans Abroad for Harmony

had been suspected from the first as alluding to a fiction
where in fact his character a black Maoist wanted as
a dissonant in North Carolina had been sent to steal a cello
once played by Rostropovich for a gangster patron of Triquarterly
who wanted it to bribe the LSO first chair to play the last choir
of Red Dawn throughout the middle movement of the Old
Commission thus forcing Solti to throw up his arms and shout
that’s what comes of only two rehearsals, union members! 
leading Charlie in his turn to write of adepts and colleagues
that they had grown up in a country in which
every street corner sported aide- memoire in shape of
new church looking like a filling station or a bank 
and now it should be elementary and essential for them all to
go hear instead the music of an Orthodox Cathedral all 
graffitied & surrounded by a high iron fence with razor wire
under which the blind peasant women crawled to kiss
the feet of a torn and rusted icon


		although back in London we could see clearly
in the photographs at Enismore Gardens that
an airbrushed version of both that and the other scenes was
to be preferred.  All the old babushkas who were often
princess this or princess that objected to our visits to the embassy
where we liked the classic films and vodka after – Nevsky 
with a re-synched Prokofiev and bootleg versions of the anecdote
about how everything derived from just one sound
the screeching of a train roaring through the station at Smolensk
on which a mnemonist examined by the Luria disciple
mapped the synesthetic pathways through a country village where
he’d placed every note as a word  like umbrella cat gazebo
samovar toysoldier effigy beside a fence or on a porch or
underneath an apple tree while he sped on by trying to forget his fear
of Schumann’s A the end of hallucinations starting with
edenic sounds becoming louder and demonic their sublimity
reduced at death to just one note that burned in his syphilitic brain
and loud and laude carried him like Giovanni
                                we asked Igor once we’d prehabilitated
if he’d got our message he said no about abort 

the short response to Rimsky listed still as Korsakov 
five bottles of the best wine simply vanished down the drain or
were they poured in libation onto Marx’s grave the brainbook
reminds us that the eye takes in a word as a word
the corresponding birdbook is organized by region bird by bird
no copyediting Cyrillic ornithologist need intervene
unless a rook or nightingale passing through the scene distract
attention from the battle on the ice
defects of memory are problems of perception in  aruski rehab 
skripka is not skrepka violin is
not to be confused with paperclip photoreceptors
capturing the light as two dfifenert iamegs on lfet dan rihgt rteniae 
dpeenindg no the smeihpor dcoednig eclertctiy as
ees or feel or haer korPvoeiv coabllortaed ni a yaw on
cposomer eevr dah bferoe with a dricetor children making
toy suits of armor out of paperclips and Eisenstein painting all the
trees with white and salting every extra just so you keep
the first and last letter plucking pizzicato 
on mnemonic violin – 
                                             skripka is skripka

and so we had eventually a house in London
and a flat in Moscow and our six friends in Leningrad with whom we
always stayed in Petersburg close enough


to be a fair distance on	     Or for that matter
some distance off.  The handles on the water taps
to our surprise didn’t say hot or cold in any language we could read
but bought and sold in several         in her bath
Tatiana raised a fetching leg high above the suds
billowing in that same tub where after she had gone we would
wash the dishes and the silver from the conference feast. 

Witzelsucht the tenor said you’ve got the wisecrack disease
coming on you with Tourettic consequence.
Charlie had revealed in his History of 1968 that our first trip
had ended for him not at the conference where his
paper on Scriabin’s synesthesia had been picked to pieces by
the delegates from China but inside the ZIV limousine 
from which a child with Williams Syndrome beckoned to him
singing Tolstoy and Lenin in the end were both
convinced they had to wring the neck of  music fifty rubles for
your Dacron socks – 
                                     pitched at 440 cycles every second and
an amplitude of 60 decibels you see
the credits on the screen the rolling titles pitched at
523 cycles amplitude of 90 decibels the view from Pereyaslavl
and the frozen lake pitched at 622 cycles amplitude of 120 decibels
a flash of lightening and the Teuton cavalry advancing
like a Panzer unit on the ice 880 cycles amplitude of 180 decibels
the ice breaks and Comrade Stalin with a perforation of
your eardrums and a sunblast on your retinas transmutes the cycle
into cyclotron	   amplitude to grim necessity
black & white to work & war the minor keys to miners’ fees
and Tatiana’s exit to a steppe flower swallowed by
a Tuvan watching movies in the Urals at the moment you write down
the name they wanted and the pseudonym as well.
Old stories certainly but this was the second trip when I was sent
back from lecturing on Ballet mécanique in NYC
aboard the Lermontov presumably to disembark with D at
Thames side dock electronic thumb as I recall it now
in Wikipedia  D’s Britannica Eleven swallowed there where now
you find the peasants stripping Diderot  from
Catherine the Great – 
                                            pheasant for the dinner Lady K
prepared while D was hiding in a priest hole thinking
Lord Protector I was working on the hydrodynamics for my Crossing 

asking what makes waves?
as if one thought that rehabilitated phonemes for the ball were photons
and we ought to make our own


separate peace with history.  But what? makes? waves? components
of resistance? poets must as ships do dear encounter
counter count on it: who waves at signals lovingly what wives
await returning man he shanty sings of sea-born signs
Potemkin Homer Mayakovsky Virgil Quote: Then first the river
hollowed alders felt . . .
                                             and by that means I’d gone
again to Leningrad.  The text of Crossing asked for
a conclusion and I wrote myself into a narrative I didn’t follow
past the ghostly Kelmscott oarsmen estuary chains
Gordon fortifications stone outcroppings along the Hundred of Hoo
and through a Dickensian fog all the way to Bayswater Rd.
By then I’d said goodbye to D and still on the Lermontov was
navigating through the Stockholm archipelago and
Gulf of Finland to fulfill an obligation to the six I’d left in Petersburg
who went out to the theatre where it was Lermontov . . .

his Masquerade . . .		Shostokovich
might have made an opera of it if they
hadn’t executed Meyerhold but that comes 
later on	Tonight it’s Meyerhold’s production it is no
ordinary evening in October	Everybody’s there	everybody who
is anybody’s there but Anna Andreyevna only managed
tickets for rehearsal isn’t anybody who is anyone
just yet 	when she leaves a dress shop in the afternoon it all begins
it all begins like theatre like Masquerade like Lermontov
it all begins like Meyerhold perhaps those mummers 
mime it all perhaps the bodies lying in the street are only doused
with buckets of red paint 	the painters all come too the painters
and the dancers and the violinists mime	All the dead men
get back up to much applause all the dead men lie there in
the streets  and either way Anna Andreyevna tastes her
Tartar blood and speaks she makes a music of this Meyerhold 
this masquerade	the lovesick Gumilyov tells her he
is dead a suicide Gumilyov is not dead he only mimes he’s shot
of course but that comes later on	it’s Knyazev who’s
killed himself for love		Who will die for Vladimir Ulyanov?
Everyone who goes to Masquerade she’ll write it down
they write down everything you say the ones who ask you where
you live who ask your name who ask you why you’re
playing in this masquerade while Petersburg is burning down it is
revised with major cuts provided by the censors 

Petersburg by  Boris Nikolayevich Bugayev the symbolist Bely
where Nikolai Ableukhov stands


before his mirror as a domino in an assassin’s mask
his hand upon a bust of Kant – 
who can’t tell you what the mummers in the poem by
Anna Andreyevna mimed from another age 
on the Fontanka it was privilaged where she conjured up a
guest from the future bringing doom instead
of flowers where she wrote upon the writings of the dead 
there’s Mandelstam there’s Meyerhold there’s Blok		
where the Engineer of Souls was whispering we’ll melt your
triple-bottomed black
libretto down into a hymn of state and gift you with a row of dots
out of Onegin – 
			nonetheless, Leonid Brezhnev’s psychic 
healer who was called  Dzhuna Davitashvili
really did meet with Apollo astronauts two decades after
I’d gone back and Luria who wrote his book in 1968 but studied S
his patient from the 20s on fascinated Eisenstein so much
because he showed him just the way that S
remembered everything by placing objects of perception
thought imagination on an infinitely winding road down which
enlarged Hippocampus strolled asking in the
key of B what’s the difference between Masha Marusya
and Mariya an interrogation Eisenstein adapted interviewing
new projectionists S knew that Masha was a tall thin babe 
with pointy tits Marusya was a plumpkin but she had a pretty smile
and Mariya was an icon Charlie wrote about it in his History – 
“graffitied church surrounded by a high iron fence 
with razor wire under which the blind peasant women crawled” etc – 
I had it in italics in part two but this time it’s in quotes
Poor Charlie died last year	 But Igor’s writing up a memoir that
he’ll call The House of Professor Wisdom and he asks me
in an email as I’m writing this if I can tell him anything I think
he should omit from such a rehabilitation –  grounds of
personal embarrassment or what’s it called
Official Secrets Act?   D is in the kitchen and I can’t clearly hear
what she says – 
                                  don’t rehash an old Rus rehearsal if it
wasn’t habitable then it’s not habilitated now
it may have been
habitué of all my past performances she’d read me Pushkin
played mazurkas on her sister’s harpsichord
and after all my journeys to the Wo Es War of things she’d welcome
me with Brussels sprouts


and mangelwurzels – beetroot for cattle if you have to play it 
in the key of C
		CCP because that lunch was for the founders
of Choleric Conference on Contemporary Poetry
as it became in the days of Gorbachev and Yeltsin when the visas
came through easily enough and old dissidents were disregarded by
the avant-garde while Esalen packed the galleries to argue for poetics
of a Tantric Resurgence and an end to ordinary history 
with citizen diplomacy and ESP for all –  
My own job by then was to cultivate nostalgia for the good old days by
meeting periodically with (soon to be known as agent) Blunt 
who had a fondness for Diana’s cooking	Igor was a little slow
to place the friend who came along with B asking if he’d 
met the Director at the Courtauld or shared an interest in Poussin
he said in fact the two had met inside the public
loo at Tottenham Court Rd wasn’t it a pity about Perestroika

The good old days	did I really love the Ruskies and their
Revolution          Fellow Travelers           Trotskyites
the way I thought when I began letting people know  
in Indiana and Ohio how I’d been a communist beginning at
the age of twelve and then became a dissident
MI5 and George Smiley leading Karla to the wall and reading
late at night Zhivago at the same time listening to the Shostakovich 5th
you wouldn’t like it any more than I if someone pulled your
fingernails out with rusty pliers did you know the
human nose keeps growing during one’s entire life a scientific fact
the scent of eidetic memory will conjure even when you
concentrate on melody the Nevsky Prospect well before the KGB
the good old days before Sir Anthony (the traitor Blunt)
was banned from banquets at the Palace and began to eat
with us the good old days well before
the good old days when grandfather still was young
and read the first Englishing of Kreutzer Sonata but begat
my father and his siblings anyway	 though not with his nose
which started walking through the streets of Van Wert, Ohio
thinking it was harbinger of me and Charlie Igor D and Lady K
years before I went to Russia or to Britain either one
years and years before I was even born
good times were had by all it wore a long mustache and smelled
the pancakes and the rumors from abroad 
have a good breakfast and a show trial for all there will be
in the passage masquerade &
nothing funny about that except the laughs


Chez Harvey Goldberg


           &  I suppose you could call it business & pleasure
the pleasure part of it a honeymoon of sorts
before the wedding six months away and staying with
my old teacher Harvey Goldberg or at least
at the same hotel he lived in while in Paris working on the life 
of Jean Jaurès               HG himself I’d call a great
orator like J –  you should have heard him on those big years
1789    1848    1870 –  he’d take off his glasses
and the music of revolution nothing else can say what it was like
flooded into mid-America	I hoped he’d approve
of D given all his strictures on “the girlfriends of poets” as he’d
say derisively and I could tell in an instant that he’d
been completely smitten 	Funny how charisma really is
enough because he was a strange looking man
and not a person you would think could have both girls & boys
rolling in his sheets	Sartre was just the same 
although he wasn’t interested in boys and Harvey wasn’t
		Chez Harvey Goldberg	with some glee he
passed the letter old Captain Adams D’s father wrote to
the address of that hotel thinking it a private home
Harvey said to D ah! you’re smart as Simone de Bouvoir & twice as
beautiful here’s a letter must be from a parent
I believe . . .Generations!  And we had such a sense of our own
everybody does I suppose everybody’s is the best
of times the worst of times and all of that but D and I as well as
on this kind of honeymoon had work to do
and Harvey said I feared she’d be a blue-stocking
or a femme fatale
                                  Jean Jaurès feared worse but fared well
before the 1898 election when on May 8th cyclists from
the villages brought news of his defeat by the new right alliance
of Solages who spooked the constituents with charges J was 
anticlerical and Dreyfusard and agent of Freemasonry to boot
though J had trudged through rain and mud to speak in barns & stables
standing up on barrels haystacks wagons crying Common cause
my brothers with the miners or Carmaux
an old peasant shouted back But you’re the one who wants to
tear down churches J replied 
and what do you think I’d do with all those stones
pile them in 1968 perhaps beside some burned out cars  along
the Boulevard Saint-Germain with toppled


plane trees and the uncollected garbage of another May
the 24th imagination or a 6th sense
trying to take power		HG would take us to see Sartre
eventually but we were tourists for a while in spite
of tear gas down around the Sorbonne 	did you know that
J-PS kept yo yos in his pocket and was good at tricks
like spinning them or doing left hand yo out horizontally while
right hand yo went up and down? he’d wait in line outside
the cinema for yet another showing of the John Ford Stagecoach
both yos whizzing just a craze and just a phase in Paris
for a while but not allowed in Stalag XII-D where he was sent
in 1941 the year come to think of it that I was born
and almost by reflex the association with that yo & muscle memory
connect while still typing here and bring in the belle époque
of Fauré and Franck the cellist Ma from iTunes 
intimations of or maybe even the exact phrase in one of these
sonatas that for stunned Marcel in time for time
regained brought back a life entire although god knows
it’s not the best marching music 
for the days of May		D said what would Maigret do
in such a situation I said what situation she said
well he often found the bodies in hotels
and in a way they were his thing living often in a place
like this La Louisiane at 60 rue de Seine founded 1823 by
old grognard of Bonaparte so upset by homelessness
among old comrades that he built them this place as 
a boarding house & now our chez HG where people lived from
time to time like Bardot and Charlie Parker Miles Davis
Jim Morrison and Bertrand Tavernier who would in 1986
make that film Round Midnight all about Bud Powell who
lived here too and set it partly in a room
right down the hall – 
                                              Maigret in Pietre-le-Letton

asks to have a place set for himself right beside
his quarry in the hotel dining room eats his dinner drinks his coffee 
then looks up and says          I think your false mustache is
is falling off       his maker Simenon using a vocab of just 2000 words
to write some 200 books one about a man in one room without arms
who’s cuckolded by someone in another without legs
one about two bodies stuffed in lockers in the Hotel Majestic
he liked fatalement balbutier hallucinant and il s’est mis à boire
Harvey liked a rhythm sometimes biblical & sometimes
just a little bit like Ezra Pound


at 84 years old he said the hero of Verdun is in good shape
and married to a girl of twenty-one	He’s  got just
two passions left	 the infantry and sex
although suffice to say he’s rather ga-ga as a leader not quite
with it really not quite there 	he goes to sleep
in meetings about marshalling the tanks and then wakes up
to talk about how well the use of homing pigeons
works when all other forms of contact with the high command
have been cut off from Fauré’s belle époque 
which morphs easily (“Description of Pétain”) into
Harvey’s archived lectures just as well from La Louisiane
as here they’ve got a Wi-Fi now and group of Linux 
software nerds in room 39 Charles Olson mystified the typing on his
silly Royal in Projective Verse but we can play a keyboard
now as if it were an organ try the
Goldberg variations	 HG Center Madison Wisconsin
after belle époque and your Fauré – 
                                                             D and I of course
had in mind a recess now and then from history
and being tourists both with afternoons in bed and two
electric fans blowing on us it was hot that May
and laughing found in fact that we agreed with La Bouvoir
who moved to room 68 in 1943 and said I’d never 
lived somewhere I’d happily have stayed the rest of my
entire life (J-P S in #10) while Simenon had boasted
that he slept with 1500 women just the one Miss A was quite
enough for me my femme fatale blue stocking
of the night in afternoon	but up we’d get at 5:00 for
drinks and dinner then along the little streets
au coer du Saint-Germain-Des-Prés to see the burnings-out
and barricades and hear the speeches music boasting
Sorbonne students who directed traffic proud
of their new occupations now the gendarmes had been driven out

Charlie sees it clearly in his Child’s History how French
police all use their clubs like swords and not like baseball bats
a subtle thing they think they’re musketeers or Roman
legionaries in their capes touché touché
they’ll get you in the groin they’ll get you in the eye or
just below the heart they dance and poke they
dance and poke I’d not seen Charlie since my trip to Russia
he said Well Imagine Meeting You and so forth
there was not a single cop that night on our side of the river


girls dancing with bare breasts and boys kindling fires
on which to cook a meal though the best
restaurants made a point of staying open half the night
where Jean Jaurès had walked the streets
before his testimony in the Zola trial reciting passages
of perfect alexandrines to his friend Anatole France
as preparation for his outcry in the court that
anti-Semites anti-Dreyfusards anti-Republicans among
the military prosecuted him who in Germinal
announced the drive of an impoverished proletariat rising
from the depths of suffering ascending
toward the sun	 Charlie saying that tomorrow
J-PS would talk to them but that we ought not expect
a fireworks display of dialectics  for to some extent 
he didn’t really get it to a very large extent
they didn’t get him either trade unionists would only
back the students briefly and De Gaulle would
rehabilitate the fascist generals from Algiers to put it down
and here I flip an email off to Michael A in Austin
asking When you published Charlie’s book who did
the work on crafting every page so well 
as to accommodate the marginalia that amplifies
or undercuts his argument or sometimes only makes you laugh
his note e.g. that even now I fail to recognize it
passing through its discourse in the hall? –  Lawrence Levey
il l’a fait says M just as he did your own two books
remember that it’s all contra Icarus in honor of apprentice
M. Talos him of the potter’s wheel and saw
who was murdered for his simple competence a value
Charlie honored till he died – 
                                                        & Talos it is it isn’t 
Telos Charlie said I know your friend 
Goldberg well enough myself to put you in my book as
staying at a small hotel and not a private home
although as was the case in Leningrad and Moscow I am
nowhere to be seen
even though I sawed the planks and turned the wheel
with all the energy that I could summon up
Jaurès pleading under red flags for peace in 1913 Sartre
before the students Grande Ampithéatre 
on 20 May of 68 greeted by a chant Nous ne voulouns pas
des personalités he’s sick and old and patient
almost blind they call him Jean-Paul
and no one ever called him that he was just Sartre


his doctors tell him that his hypertension is so bad 
a confrontation with a crowd (a mob?) might kill him 
all of this tomorrow Charlie says
the waiter takes my plate away the portly gentleman
beside me says your false mustache
is falling off – 
		but chez Harvey Goldberg that’s ok
as is Ma femme à la taille de loutre entre les dents du tigre
ma femme à la bouche de cocarde et de bouquet
d’etoiles de derniere grandeur 
and D says with a waist of an otter in a tiger’s jaws?
with the mouth of cockade and clustering maximal stars? 
Bien sur I say and white teeth like spoors of mice
on white earth although Mme Breton was not an English girl at
chez Harvey Goldberg Ma femme aux hanches de lustre
et de pennes de flàche becomes graffiti on the
walls of air and our small hotel our own arrondisement
though all of this is after dinner in the night
surrounded by the bonfires and the flashlights signaling
through smoke and low-drifting tear gas this is
the way to the liberated Odéon where 
on ne parle pas avec des gens qui n’existent pas  and so
of course the false mustache must go

I wonder what HG would make of and
tourism portals on the Net and start-up companies and Kudzu
in his old room and New Econ tenants and the board
meetings in the mezzanine where we’d meet for morning coffee
looking right across the street at butcher shop and 
cheese shop and fish arriving fresh from the morning’s catch
with Gallimard the great publisher square in the middle now
of revolution that will make it obsolete books replaced
by what a Cal Tech ViaFrance advisor calls 
a better kind of software
                                            if you access the HG site from
La Louisane you can hear him
saying  And I saw it coming all of it you know the way I guess
the birds look at bulldozers coming at the trees it was
the post-war war for consumer money & machines to begin with
that would make you laugh like the tiny fridge obtained
by J-P S well no one had a fridge in those days he said he had
a great thing to show me 	I said Ah! C’est formidable 

what else could I say you’ve got a great refrigerator there but
that was just the first of ten thousand other


gadgets yet to come you plugged in you turned on he also said
you know the people’s opium is opium
and of the New Left		when will all of that catch up
with me? – 
		we saw them smoking dope and dropping acid
there around their fires
and snorting coke and all the things one did in those days
HG said J-PS stayed fit on Corydrane and Orthodrine 
uppers downers inbetweeners all washed down
with red wine or gin while working fifth of scotch at night

his voice was so certain and his certainty a blast
from history about a future which has now 
become the past & it will take much longer than he thought
for words to put on flesh and exit Chez HG
on down the Rue de Seine in any way but in a poem
of which the site is maybe now
a spent force the music of a bootleg virtuoso playing at 
an rpm of ten beyond the 68 it represents the rasp
of a steel needle in the groove but
nonetheless it sings and off went everyone to revolutions per
the insight of their numbers and you just implant
a chip to regulate your heart for love 
and next your brain    and why not your will?      look out!
you’ll be some pixels in a program on another’s screen
it won’t be nice chez quelque chose as they pursue whatever 
kind brother rhetoric of Jean Jaurès 
who tried to stop a war with strange loops of words
they’ll strip it down to Möbius or stripe of
color maybe on a street that otherwise is black and white
but off we go – 
			the sight of others marching round
in circles caught us by surprise the
strange loop down Rue Jacob then across the Rue de l’Université
to Gallimard on Rue Sebastian Botain and round
the corner on the Rue de Bac and on to Pont-Royal and
then the Boulevard de Saint-Germain
and there was Charlie pressed against a doorway seeking
with the handle of an umbrella
mischief to make among the Gaullists who were racing
to catch up  with Vichey collaborators
racing to catch up with Old Regime aristocrats in powdered wigs
taunted by the crew of Jean Luc Godard his hand-held camera 
looping in the hands of his mistress perched atop


a statue of David drawing in his sketchbook
M-Antoinette playing La Chinoise     and old John and
old Diana femme fatale and blue stocking
lost in nostalgia limbic system’s hippocampus glowing brightly 
chez Cockade and homo erectus wearing
on his head a French horn while quoting Robespierre and
standing on a drum	 Charlie said 
you missed tomorrow altogether did you spend the day
in bed?  I told you he would be there and
he was but didn’t really like the crowd and tried to run
a seminar they whisked him in the end to the Deux Magots 
but what is next that this way comes
bearing on the crest of its wave Ministre d’Etat who once
was the  Resistance darling known
to some as Colonel Berger – 
                                            700,000 smug bourgeois in suits & ties
all for Referendum: Long live the General
Vive de Gaulle	we’re caught up in the wrong parade
and so is history that circles on without Jaurès
without Danton and  soon without both J-PS &  Uncle Harv
that’s what happens if you sleep right through 
tomorrow altogether in your curtained room and that’s 
what happens if you’re caught up in the wrong 
bloody memory inhabiting the wrong program yesterday’s
a typing error in the last oration for the first man there 
and yet with any luck today’s right poem in spite
of tripping up at trigon check it out at belleépoque.Franck
or com/watch? Myra Hess from Hess/Hess all of it appassionata 
all in place at y=lyxn2Y4E but out of it in Paris 1968
or the JM doppelganger in from Plymouth
blazing neurons over iTunes clumsy in the touch
is JM poet of these lines Berkeley in 07 part of that same
trip in Roadex Reflex: why=zeeEmwhywhytwopioy  ployboy
misplaced and ill-informed and looking ill-advised
to be performing in the chez chaise in laptop white-haired ladies
on his left and on his right the wrong palm a prize
for anybody else who missed
tomorrow         maybe even you            we find of a sudden
that it’s Sunday afternoon even if it only comes
in books or bites 	and loop on out of counting up the laps
on bikes we pedal toward a bandwidth at the border
sun shining brightly through the revolutions per millennium
turning wheels just as if we’d synced our lips
to come in last or like we’d lost at something just in time

from Electronic Book Review (08/23/2002):

a review of John Matthias's highly impressive poem
Working Progress, Working Title [Automystifstical Plaice]
In the 1930s, actress Hedy Lamarr was married to Fritz Mandl, a German arms manufacturer who guarded her so closely that he insisted she accompany him everywhere, even to discussions regarding the development of military technology. After finally leaving Mandl, Lamarr brought her acting talents to Hollywood. She also brought with her a knowledge of the roles that synchronization and what the arms community called "frequency hoping" could play in the guidance and control of missiles like the V2. When the second World War broke out, she sought out a collaborator who could appreciate what she was trying to offer the Allies, and was eventually directed to George Antheil, the composer of Ballet Mecanique, an avant-garde score that required the synchronization of 16 pianos. Between Hollywood projects, Lamarr and Antheil worked out the details of a patent that was ahead of its time in terms of practical application, but would become the basis for the hand-shaking communications technology in use today in everything from cell phones, wireless PDA and other Internet devices, to the guidance of cruise missiles. Their collaboration also became the springboard for John Matthias's "Working Progress, Working Title [Automystifstical Plaice]."

In what some have called his richest poem, Matthias allows the factual details of the Lamarr-Antheil story to expand into a meditation on the "progress" of sound-and-noise, film, film history, history generally -- and how the "frequency hoping" of technology, representation, systems of constraint, and sources of power go into the composition of what we call culture.