sometimes I pull a book from the shelves & discover my past.
why wd I reach for Richard Kim's The Martyred this morning? I don't know. but written in red ink is an inscription from my old friend T. R. Queen noting that the novel is a gift for my 21st birthday. seeing his familiar scrawl is a touchstone to another time.
I don't remember ever reading the book but in the back is my own writing in pencil: 4 quotations from poetry. in addition to Ginsberg & Rilke (didn't all 21 year-olds of my generation venerate them?)are some lines from John Peale Bishop that have been long lost to me.
The question, lords & ladies, is
With what did Percy Shelley piss?
. . .
We ask & ask, till silence palls,
Did Percy Bysshe have any balls?
I have no recollection of reading Bishop who died the year after I was born. was it because he was a friend of Scott Fitzgerald who used him as a model for one of his characters? was it because I was an English major who was reading the Romantics & somehow stumbld upon this bit of frivolity? & as far as Bishop's sentiment I'm certain if I ever ponderd the genitals of the Romantics it wd've been Byron I'd be wondering abt.
I'm not sure what part of Byron was on my mind when this was taken in Missolonghi in the summer of 1992 but I am certain that I hadn't given thought to Bishop in many decades.