Matt Potter 8:22 p.m., March 19
Pulitzer prize recipient James Merrill linked to Merrill Lynch investment firm through father and poetry
He memorialized the Weather Underground bombing in his poem “18 West 11th Street,” the address of his birth
The Puzzle Is No Puzzle
- A card table in the library stands ready
- To receive the puzzle which keeps never coming.
- Daylight shines in or lamplight down
- Upon the tense oasis of green felt.
- Full of unfulfillment, life goes on,
- Mirage arisen from time’s trickling sands
- Or fallen piecemeal into place:
- German lesson, picnic, see-saw, walk
- With the collie who ‘did everything but talk’ —
- Sour windfalls of the orchard back of us.
- A summer without parents is the puzzle,
- Or should be. But the boy, day after day,
- Writes in his Line-a-Day No puzzle.
- When the puzzle finally arrives, after days of waiting, it is described in detail:
- Out of the blue, as promised, of a New York
- Puzzle-rental shop the puzzle comes —
- A superior one, containing a thousand hand-sawn,
- Sandal-scented pieces. Many take
- shapes known already — the craftsman’s repertoire
- nice in its limitation — from other puzzles:
- Witch on broomstick, ostrich, hourglass,
- Even (not surely just in retrospect)
- An inchling, innocently-branching palm.
- Then when the flame forked like a sudden path
- I gasped and stumbled, and was less.
- Density pulsing upward, gauze of ash,
- Dear light along the way to nothingness,
- What could be made of you but light, and this?
- Death took my father.
- The same year (I was twelve)
- Thanási’s mother taught me
- Heaven and hell.
- None of my army buddies
- Called me by name—
- Just ‘Styles’ or ‘Fashion Plate’.
- One friend I had, my body,
- And, evenings at the gym
- Contending with another,
- Used it to isolate
- Myself from him.
- The doctor saved my knee.
- You came to the clinic
- Bringing War and Peace,
- Better than any movie.
- Why are you smiling?
- I fought fair, I fought well,
- Not hurting my opponent,
- To win this black belt.
- Why are you silent?
- I’ve brought you a white cheese
- From my island, and the sea’s
- Voice in a shell.