From A Robert Kelly Reading

On Monday night I caught a reading by Anna Moschovakis & Robert Kelly at the DIA Art Foundation. Exciting work from & excellent reading by both poets (The evening’s audio/visual record should eventually be up at Pennsound). I was able to record a bit of Kelly’s reading & below is one poem I more specifically liked at first “hear.” RK had introduced that section by saying they were a Tarot card series, the major arcana, but with post-Pongean everyday objects, the first he read was “A Glass,” the second one this “Cellar Door.”

RK reads “Cellar Door”[audio:]


The cellar door
stands open.
It leads down
to a little Galilee
between the earth and
how much of heaven
fits in a house,

a between place
like between your eyes.
Such words
we rest on things,
hoping they don’t
slip off by night.

It is day now,
you can see this
innocent aperture
leads gently down—
would you go down there
with me
if I call you
by the name of another?



Why should we lie.
There are so many ways
into a single house.
I offer the low path,
humid, cool down there,
whitewashed stone walls
gentle menace of furnace,
sump pump, dust.
Cool dust,
not so different
from remembering.



The picture
is out of breath.
It just wants you
to go in.

Humble yourself
to the low
ceiling of the actual.
Talk to whoever
you meet down there.
Later you can
help him up the stairs.



UPDATE: The video of RK’s full reading has now been uploaded to youtube, here.

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1 Response

  1. Thnaks for the deft and quite effective Kelly poem. A little sister to the major The Door poem in Red Actions.
    Alas the sound at DIA is very poor. I gave up trying to listen to Robert read after several attempts.
    Clayton Eshleman

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