Gyroscope Review 15-3 - Page 45

The Book Club Devotee by Isabella David McCaffrey We read the Pisan Cantos LXXIV-LXXXIV aloud between surplus paper napkins and folding metal chairs, squeezed into a corner like some 12-step poetry group. A circle of frail human beings with bad haircuts and pilled sweaters, taking turns with each stanza diffidently as if on the verge of composing a love sonnet or confessing to lifelong sins of flesh and spirit. Deconstructing passages of sadistic opaque splendor, speaking in tongues about fallen heroes, skipping the Chinese altogether but admiring on the page the symbols as exquisite as Tanagra figurines. “J’ai eu pitié des autres.” An old man reads, his Bronx accent laying the vowels like underground subway tracks deep inside his nostrils, sprouting white hair and syllables. He pushes his glasses up a beautifully bulbous nose, pausing to squint: “Probablement pas assez.” No, never enough pity. I’m thinking of Pound, mad and lonely and nostalgic. I’m thinking of myself back then, young and loving poetry alone, I’m thinking of the doomed days of the Poetry Club. I’m thinking of the man reading French, never understanding a word in the basement of the Bowery Poetry Club, now replaced by another burlesque joint— how the hip do inherit the Earth! And like locusts will end by devouring us all. Gyroscope Review 3! 6