Happy Birthday, Weldon Kees!

Weldon Kees was born on this day in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1914. His artistic endeavors included painting and music, but he is best known for bringing a rich, new voice to American poetry––a voice full of wonderfully quirky, dark humor.

On July, 19, 1954, police found Kees’ Plymouth Savoy abandoned near the Golden Gate Bridge. The question of his whereabouts may never be answered. Some say he committed suicide, others say that he had spoken to them of plans to begin a new life in Mexico after his divorce. A search of his apartment revealed his watch, sleeping bag and wallet missing, though his eight-hundred dollar bank balance remained untouched. There was no suicide note.

Without further ado, two poems by this elusive man of mystery. I hope you enjoy them.

Obituary

Boris is dead. The fatalist parrot
No longer screams warnings to Avenue A.
He died last week on a rainy day.
He is sadly missed. His spirit was rare.

The cage is empty. The unhooked chain,
His pitiful drippings, the sunflower seeds,
The brass sign, “Boris” are all that remain.
His irritable body is under the weeds.

Like Eliot’s world, he went out with a whimper;
Silent for days, with his appetite gone,
He watched the traffic flow by, unheeding,
His universe crumbling, his heart a stone.

No longer will Boris cry, ‘Out brief candle!”
Or “Down with tyranny, hate, and war!”
To astonished churchgoers and businessmen.
Boris is dead. The porch is a tomb.
And a black wreath decorates the door.

from Five Villanelles

The crack is moving down the wall.
Defective plaster isn’t all the cause.
We must remain until the roof falls in.

It’s mildly cheering to recall
That every building has its little flaws.
The crack is moving down the wall.

Here in the kitchen, drinking gin,
We can accept the damnest laws.
We must remain until the roof falls in.

And though there’s no one here at all,
One searches every room because
The crack is moving down the wall.

Repairs? But how can one begin?
The lease has warnings buried in each clause.
We must remain until the roof falls in.

These nights one hears a creaking in the hall,
The sort of thing that gives one pause.
The crack is moving down the wall.
We must remain until the roof falls in.

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2 responses

  1. Raul Bucciarelli | Reply

    Reblogged this on daisuzoku.

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