Sunday, October 07, 2007

"Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city's throat."

I've never dug Robert Lowell's poetry but I found myself thinking of his line from "For the Union Dead" while in Washington DC last week. Lowell's patrician imagery and metaphor has always rubbed me the wrong way, but there are a few lines from his poetry that really work and resonate with me. I also caught myself thinking of Langston Hughes and the famous meeting between Hughes and Vachel Lindsay at the Wardman Park Hotel in DC where Hughes was employed at the time (which makes me think of when Jean Michel Basquiat entered the restaurant where Warhol was eating to try to sell him his "ignorant art" postcards).

Plus thinking of Hughes (being from Lincoln, Illinois) seemed logical because the ghost of Lincoln looms large in our nation's capital. I've always thought Hughes to be truer than Whitman to the cadence of America.

Here's a pic from the "Haunted Washington" walking tour I took, which was kewl. The ghost of Dolly Madison is scheduled to appear again on the porch pictured in the photo above sometime soon.

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