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Part showy display of literary style, part grumpy personal letter, this is a rich celebration of the power of writing
To Vladimir Nabokov on His 70th Birthday
That nymphet’s beauty lay less on her bonesThan in her name’s proclaimed two allophones,A boned veracity slow to be foundIn all the chanting of recorded sound.Extrude an orange pip upon the track,And it will be a pip played front or back,But only in the kingdom of the shadeCan diaper run back and be repaid.Such speculations salt my exile too,One that I bear less stoically than you.I look in sourly on my lemon treesSpiked by the Qs and Xes of MalteseAnd wonder: Is this home or where is home?(Melita’s caves, Calypso’s honeycomb).I see a cue or clue. Just opposite,The grocer has a cat that loves to sitUpon the scales. Respecting his repose,One day he weighed him: just two rotolos.In this palazzo wood decays and falls;Buses knock stucco from the outer walls,Slam shut the shutters. Coughing as they lurchThey yet enclose the silence of a church,Rock in baroque: Teresan spados stabThe Sacred Heart upon the driver’s cab,Whereupon, in circus colours, one can readThat verbum caro factum est. Indeed.I think the word is all the flesh I need –The taste, and not the vitamins of senseWhatever sense may be. I like the fenceOf black and white that keeps those bullocks in –Crossboard or chesswood. Eurish gift of Finn –The crossmess parzel. If words are no moreThan pyoshki, preordained to look before,Save for their taking chassé, they aloneAnd not the upper house, can claim a throne(Exploded first the secular magazinesAnd puff of bishops). All aswarm with queens,Potentially, that board. Well, there it is:You help me counter the liquiditiesWith counters that are counties, countries. BestTo read it: Caro Verbum Facta Est.
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