Fall/Winter 2016

Ron Padgett


“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,” said William Blake. His wife made no reply. They would have gone home, but they were already there.
On the menu of the Palace of Wisdom restaurant is only one item: a cloud.
The road of excess leads to the operating table.
William Blake went to leave his house, but the door was stuck, and no matter how hard he pulled, it would not open.
You are in the form of yourself. A door.
As a child I often ate half a head of iceberg lettuce at dinner so I could hear the crunch-crunch resonating in my skull. I was in the form of a rabbit.
One day William Blake sat down to eat, but the idea of excess no longer meant anything to him. He tried to stand up, but the idea of standing was not there, either. He had become “William Blake.”
In the Blake Museum there are only two items: “William Blake” and a cloud. The Palace of Wisdom closed long ago.

Ron Padgett’s Collected Poems won the LA Times Prize for the best poetry book of 2014 and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. His most recent translation is Zone: Selected Poems of Guillaume Apollinaire. Padgett wrote the poems that appear in Jim Jarmusch’s forthcoming film, Paterson.



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