22 June 2005

Mark Doty's "Idea of Order at Key West"

The ending of "The Chanteuse" from My Alexandria:

As she invented herself, memory revises
and restores her, and the moment
she sang, I think we were perfected,

when we became her audience,
and maybe from that moment on
it didn’t matter so much exactly

what would become of us.
I would say she was memory,
and we were restored by

the radiance of her illusion,
her consummate attention to detail,
name the colors—her song: my Alexandria,

my romance, my magnolia
distilling lamplight, my backlit glory
of the wigshops, my haze

and glow, my torch, my skyrocket,
my city, my false,
my splendid chanteuse.

Fates willing, I'm going to hear Mark Doty read Sunday night in Provincetown. If you haven't read this book, you should abandon what you're reading and read this instead.

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