José Garcia Villa was known as the “Pope of Greenwich Village” in 1940s New York City. A proponent of experimentation and invention in poetry, the cerebral poet introduced the “reversed consonance”—when the last sounded consonants of the last syllable are reversed for the corresponding rhyme, such as with near and run, and light and tell—and a new poetic use of the comma, when a comma is placed to separate almost all the words in a poem. He was interested in the relationship between the meaning of human life and the mystery of Creation, and strove to find the I, to “reach that point where Man and God are in kinetic and heroic balance: where the progression itself is the ordering and adhering into Identity.” The following are four poems from Garcia Villa’s collection Anchored Angel: Selected Writings published by Kaya Press.
The, caprice, of, canteloupes, is, to, be,
Sweet, or, not, sweet,—
To, create, suspense. A return,
To, Greek, drama.
Their, dramaturgy, is, not, in, the, sweet,
Soil, but, in, the, eye,
Of, birds, the, pure, eye, that, decides,
To, bestow, or,
To, withold. Shall, I, be, sweet, or,
Up, at, your, face. Till, sudden:
I, will, be, sweet!
The, hands, on, the, piano, are, armless.
No, one, is, at, the, piano.
The, hands, begin, and, end, there.
There, no-one’s, hands, are, there:
Crystal, and, clear, upon, the, keys.
Playing, what, they, play.
Playing, what, they, are.
Playing, the, sound, of, Identity.
Yet, how, absurd, how, absurd, how, absurd!
In my desire to be Nude
I clothed myself in fire:—
Burned down my walls, my roof,
Burned all these down.
Emerged myself supremely lean
Unsheathed like a holy knife.
With only His Hand to find
To hold me beyond annul.
And found Him found Him found Him
Found the Hand to hold me up!
He held me like a burning poem
And waved me all over the world.
Now I will tell you the Future
Of God. The futue of God is
Man. God aspired before and
Failed. Jesus was too much
God. Since God is moving
Towards Man, and Man is moving
Towards God—they must meet
Sometime. O but God is always
A Failure! That Time is the
End of the world. When God
And Man do meet—they will
Be so bitter they will not speak.