Tuesday, October 23, 2007

For All You Ronald Johnson Fans...

Joe Brainard has discovered the long-lost Elegy for Princess Di by Ron Johnson, my favorite poet!

It's not my favorite poem by Ron, not by a long shot, but the timing couldn't be better, as I spent yesterday morning printing out the galleys of the long-lost (well, long-awaited) Ronald Johnson: Life and Works collection. One more set of galleys to print, and it's off to be indexed.

So, without further ado, the elegy, which Brainard found in "Word of Mouth, this excellent anthology of Gay American Poetry edited by Timothy Liu and published by Talisman House (God bless you, Ed Foster!)" Bear with it--the final stanza works quite well, and I suspect that RJ would have pruned it down to 8 or 12 lines eventually.

August 31st - September 5th
doomed princess
pursued by paparazzi
smashed flashbulbed
into infinity

candle in the wind
buried bright day
all London lines
polite the streets

lie softly, ghost
aghast at the actual
limbs dumb as trees
slippered in lead

round earth no more
would Saturn's rings
each proximity pull
to pale the whole

interred Isle du Lac
but for helicopters
safe in autumn sod
England's green hills

Diana, huntress
brought down herself
relentless chase
turned into marble


W.B. Keckler said...

Hi E.M. What a pleasure to discover this fine forum! I must correct one salient misstatement, however. I am not the eminent artist, poet, heart and spirit Joe Brainard. I am W.B. Keckler, author of Sanskrit of the Body (penguin) and the forthcoming collection Okay, But I'm Gonna Burn Down the Building (six gallery press, hint hint: buy my book!) who named my everything-but-the-kitchen-sink's-burbling-and-sometimes-even-that blog Joe Brainard's Pyjamas in homage to The Joe. Cheers and stop in again anytime. The pyjamas will be laid out for you on the bed.

E. M. Selinger said...

[Blushes profusely!]