L S Klatt


Friends of the leopard on the white path regard the leopard as inescapable. The aforesaid makes a beeline which is approximate to a leap. It concerns all involved that the leopard materializes wherever it wants in the time it wants. Outside the window, where the white path is not white but merely nothing, the big cat has a field day. A hunter, in a field of sable, tracks the sun in order to parse the spots last sighted. It can be heard & wondered at that the leopard changes its spots, but it cannot be certain. There is a guardrail wherein the spotlight stops; as if to say that the leopard, sufficient in itself, contains itself. The way they saunter, the friends might lope or lie down beside the white path. Now, now not, the leopard is slow to speak but on a murderous pace.



THE CITY, 1912

The rabbit with human hands fashions a human city. I have been to that metropolis; it is a city of carrots & squashes. It emits a definite shade of red & a yellow undertone. The huntsman bivouacs on its outskirts. There is another city not far off & not made with human hands. In its tower, a violet bell. The violet bell strikes a velvet sound; it rings a definite shade of maybe. The violet bell cannot be dulled. It quivers in the hands implausibly. Wher-ever the soft, deep colors go round, the huntsman traipses. The possible rabbit with the impossible extremes is sometimes near, sometimes loose. It circles back to where the huntsman lapses. There is no must in the violet city; the humane rabbit is free to make again.






UTMOST LEOPARD: To jump-start my composing process for this piece, I was reading T. S. Eliot's "Ash Wednesday," and, as is usual when I visit that great poem, I was transfixed by the "three white leopards" sitting "under a juniper tree." The afterimage these words evoked lingered in my consciousness, and eventually I began imagining others similarly possessed, "friends of the leopard." For them, as for me, the flesh-eating leopard has become a figment more attractive and numinous than perhaps even Eliot would have supposed, though no less dangerous. For them, as for me, the leopard—vigorous, radiant, enigmatic—is "utmost."

THE CITY, 1912: I'm very interested in the mind as sensorium and the ways in which the arts rely on sensation. When I read, for example, that Marcel Proust used to see a "violet bell" from the window of his uncle's apartment in Paris, my mind can't help but vibrate. I love this synaesthesia that combines a violet color with a violet sound. In "The City, 1912," I try to let language bombard the senses. I'm reaching for what Wallace Stevens once called "gorgeous nonsense." Among the pleasures this poem attempts to produce, trace elements of St. Paul's epistles and Wassily Kandinsky's essay "Concerning the Spiritual in Art" occasionally surface.