Gargoyle 4
cover collage by Gary Peabody
Publication date 12/20/1976

Frantic with Detail

David Clarke


Where is the woman
Who’s up in
The morning

Eating her fruit
Walking on
Wet lawns

While I’m still sleeping
Dreaming of
Soft hair.

Where is the woman
Whose fortune’s
Her own

Making her car heal
Merely by

Who walks in the rain
And thinks about
Dry cats.

Who’d rather a lake
Than all of
The oceans.

Where is the woman
Who wants me
Not needs me.


Who feels the irrestible pain
(Like a cowlick bent wrong)
In the cold piquance
Of knowing she’s truly alone,

Listening to the same song
Knowing that we must
Hear two different ones.

That the difference between
Full thick tea
And the bitter
Is as tricky as

Where does the land
become water?
When does day
Become night?

And who is brunette, I think.


Who whistles Albinoni,
Into the Mystic,
(Hold on, it gets worse)

Whose picture I would indecently
Study on trains,
Whose temple I could
Smell on my hands.

Who loves Vouvray,
Wool, bare trees, light so clear
the horizon is frantic with
detail, the clarity of a
motorcycle, elders, skills,
The smells of cut wood, leaf
smoke, children’s spit, old books,
the damp,

And wickedly will buy stockings
But hasn’t yet.


Here I am here I am,
No, over here . . .

Dear Richard,

Print my poems,
Make me happy,
Print my poems,
Make it snappy.

They got sex,
They got killing,
Print my poems,
They’re so thrilling.

Pretty good, huh? Right off the top of my head!

Further biographical notes (want to get this right!): "David Clarke has a wet sense of humor."

Notes to the enclosed (this is how Eliot made a saleable book out of The Wasteland, as you know).

(I.) Line 2: little vigor there; subtle phallic allusion. Neat rhythm, huh? Gets slammed
against a wall next section.

4&5: more sex; Tom Jones;

6&7: dream? Whole thing maybe?

9: 4 references to hair–can you find ’em?

10-12: forecast of last triplet; lady luck, see Tarot cards
(is this driving you nuts?).

13-15: heal–see Fisher King; car– contemporary, mundane (see "Children’s spit" in
III.). More forecasting.

16-18: More walking; "cats", "wishing", "soft"–feminine.

19-21: water (more sex); lakes are very romantic, eg, Lady of, Veronica, etc. Prefers
the intimate image.

22-24: Bam! Rest period.

(do you think this is funny? Sure beats what I ought to be doing)

(II.) Line 1: Irrestible is a real word; it’s piquance I made up.

4: Little existentialism never hurts.

5-7: quoting show music–have already.

8-16: little phenomenological fluff (could of come right out of Bergson) to set up:

17: a very funny line. C’mon, admit it.

(III.) 1-3: true nature of this mess finally comes out. Title finally makes sense (it’s
brought up again soon for the dummies).

4-8: raw sex (it sells). temple is a swing word.

9-17: he can bear it no longer, blows the game, shows how impossible it all is,
kept it in as long as he could, sets up for the smash ending, yet,

18-19: still has a grip on reality (more sex–but that’s not the reality; the reality is
that the woman might yet be real). The last bright flame to put an edge on the

20-23: All right, right on, far out–just like O’Henry! Where on earth did that
other voice come from! Wow? Weird, man!

David Clarke divides his time between single-cell taxidermy and translating polo scorecards into dead languages.