Winter 02


Jane Loves Joe




1. Lady Haw Haw

He an elegant, unsavory sailor, intent
On forging the nebulous ingot by silver
Ingot, tusk by ephemeral tusk, harpooning
Deep-water tuna, she a fleshpot of Atlanta,
Georgia, betrothed for the moment to Deems
Taylor, composer: Jane had seduced several
Pillars of Britain's economy before settling
Her red-haired oracle on the epistemologically
Curious Pole, queer torch she lit with her spark
Of darkness, loving with the demented

Possessive ferocity characteristic
Of instability, intercepting his letters to wife
Jesse so she, Jane, could explain to herself
Why she herself complained, seducing poor
Vulnerable Borys to prove her enduring
Allure, divorcing Deems and marrying
That bogus, spectacular Eduardo Cienfuegos,
The precarious hole-in-the-sole porousness
Of aristocratic distinction inducing
Their embrace of Spain's falange,

El Caudillo (Franco) in particular,
Power's grace an immemorial hedge against
Transience, a theater of violent expedients
Dense with symbols the craft of fascism.
The Reds imprisoned her with rats and rapacious
Male inmates. Jane, by then deranged
And opium dependent, went on the air
For Goebbels, and in 1945 the U.S.
Indicted her for treason, though despite
Vindictive belly-aching by her friend

And rival in ink and men, Katherine A. Porter,
It was "case dismissed," old now as Conrad
When first she tickled him under the beard.
Home to Spain, so to speak, a poor hotel
And the death of a mouse in the wall. She loved
Korzeniowski—which means short, like Kurtz—
For his umbrella of prestige, gravelly voice,
And a gravity that gave connivance,
Emptiness and fear, on a global and indeed
Eternal scale, philosophic dignity.

2. The Arrow of Gold

Jane assiduously adored that croaking,
Excessively articulate, Asian raven, gilding
Him with abundantly unguent, red-haired
Magnificence, tactile and metaphysical.
Her mother, Ellen Luckie of Atlanta—see 
Luckie Boulevard—was arraigned
For murder, acquitted for beauty. Jane's
Maternal uncle took the blame, fled
To South America. Her father, that whisky
And beef-eating bull, Robert "Red" Anderson,

Jumped marital ship for Panama
And the U.S. southwest the year "Jane"
Was born and christened fashionably, if not
Pompously, Foster Anderson, renamed
Jane Foss at Kidd-Key Women's School
Of Dallas, in short order Jane Taylor
Due to Deems, aforementioned composer.
O ornaments of impaled bliss! O lollipop heads
Surmounting sticks around Kurtz's
Jungle hacienda. Mementos of reality,

A kick in the head indeed in life
As a river diminishing into the century's
Dark heart: for Jane a residence hotel
Outside Madrid, for Conrad a heart attack
In '26. Man holds the bow, God shoots
The arrow: love that requires the high
Made low, the dark illumined. "Always
Going up in airplanes," wrote Rebecca West,
Noting Jane's hand graze the knee
Of H. G. Wells, "and down in submarines."

3. Soul Hour

A gibbous (What does it mean, monkey?)
Moon waxing, barometric intensities
Ascending (mercury assuming its uttermost
As silver pillar), night clear resonance
Excruciating, interstate a mile away
Yet moved somehow next door, eave
Where my bed lies pressed amplifying
Darkness's distressed ambiguities. Bare footed
I cross the downstairs porch and glare defiantly
At an empty street: surely a car somewhere
Is idling, automatic choke exaggerating
Oxygen and carbon's complex explosions

Within iron sheathes of oiled rings and spinning
Ball-bearings, pistons exalting, some late-night
Pleaser returning to his feathered nest
And giving his eggs a good candling. What I hear
Is the hum of uncertainty, conch of head
And ear anent the conch of air, each 
Emptiness augmenting want of knowledge.
It's nice to read and write of Jane Anderson
Types rummaging in the underbrush
Of Conrad's personal jungle, a doe
Peeing on trees, adoring him with mutual
Arrows of gold as if nothing punishes

A life's loose ends. Stiff and still petrified
To avoid punishment (replacement
Of moonlight with fire and wind), I pray
Something glorious, even vicarious, as priest
Of the hole, could happen to me: moon
Shower drops I can feel and see. Jane panting
For Hitler, Pound for Mussolini (little
), art and fascism's distractions
From thoughtful toil with trumpets of savage
Modernity: I turn to my simplest need, close
My eyes to the stars' weird, terrifying goals,
And in a cold erotic cosmos, try to sleep.


Kenneth Rosen's first collection, Whole Horse, was selected by Richard Howard for the Braziller Poetry Series in 1970. Kenneth was living with his family in the village of Steep, England outside of Petersfield, Hants, under the auspices of the late British novelist, Penelope Mortimer, of The Pumpkin Eater fame, made into a motion picture starring Kenneth's favorite actor, James Mason, though Kenneth especially relishes Mason as Humbert Humbert in Kubrick's Lolita. Kenneth's sixth collection of poetry, The Origins of Tragedy is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press of Fort Lee, New Jersey. Recent poems have appeared in Paris Review, Marlboro Review, and River City. Kenneth has lived since 1966 in Portland, Maine and environs, where he is off and on a professor at the University of Southern Maine. He is recently returned from three weeks as a Fulbright professor in Egypt, and is en route to Ankara, Turkey where he will be a guest lecturer at the Middle Eastern Technical University, culminating his visit with a paper on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness at METU's 10th Annual Joseph Conrad Seminar, and explain the incessant aporia at the heart of darkness as a site of freedom and of course horror.