Illusive Allusions

The intertextual is not merely interstitial. It sometimes runs interference.

I like the central image in Rhea Tregebov "Vienna, November 1983" in no one we know and how it connects with the haunting mention at the close of the poem of a locale (Mauthausen) that was the site of a concentration camp — mere mention of the name undercuts the quotidian contentedness evoked by cream in coffee.

Allowing herself cream; cream marbles
the good coffee, turns it from liquid
into something extraordinary, something
like a body.
Through enumeration and allusion (pearls as eyes) the poem comes to the closing mention of Mauthausen. I think this is where for me it fails — I bring too much to the reading. I bring my previous reading of the Shakespeare and the T.S. Eliot. They register for me in the singular number which for Tregebov is positioned as a multitude.

Ariel's song from The Tempest
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell
Eliot's The Waste Land
Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Cream does pearl in coffee when the last drops drop. The image though is not caught at the point the cream is poured but in the swirl when it is allowed into the good coffee. Notwithstanding the meddlesome allusions, to connect a simple cup of coffee with a concentration camp is audacious.

But who drinks the coffee?

What is enumeration and allusion is recapitulation.

The beginning of the poem:
Most, people her age, allow themselves …
a certain sentimentality now. Those
are pearls. The five foxes circle her neck,
their squared noses pointing down dark
with a polished sheen dark as the wood
building the walls of the café; nothing
The ending:
[…] the good coffee, turns it from liquid
into something extraordinary, something
like a body. All their rings, the light,
voicing that soft gold, extraordinary
how little the sizes varied, the human hand
human, the light living, once, nothing. And those
are pearls, those everlastingly mild eyes
that were their eyes, dark as the wood building
the walls that were their eyes. Mauthausen.
Ever so easy, distracted by coffee, to miss the repeated (but differently segmented) "dark as the wood building walls". An architectural trick overriding the allusions.

And so for day 1525