About B.’s ears, mainly figurative, which is good since nothing could be less interesting than this guy’s ears. His actual hearing was dulled from a childhood disease, so there’s that. But it’s his metaphoric “ear” for rhythm and language that is engaging enough. From the moment he was born, he was a writer: “when Henry keen & viable // began to poke his head from Venus’ foam, / toward the grand shore, where all them ears would be / if any. / Thus his art started.” The rest of his body disintegrated as he lived—cracked and broken, as we’ve seen, and of course partially pickled. But in the end “Only his ears sat with his theme / in the splices of his pride.” A couple double entendres in the last line there—“splices” probably referring to his unorthodox punctuation, and “pride” with both the positive and negative meanings in play, hubris on one hand, but accomplishment on the other. A confessional poem through and through.
Here’s a really good poem about ears: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/ear-organ-made-love
Shall I try one too? Sounds good!
Music to Her Ears
These fleshy horns show best when hidden
Underneath her hair, though as a scaffold
For jewels on a woman, they’ll hold
My gaze a moment, not unbidden
If she hangs them there. But ears
Are not so much to glow with splendor
The soft of sheening pearls, but more
To take the splendor in. She hears
The lonesome hoot-owl’s nightlong throes—
Guitars—a reverent amen—
Plaints of melancholy love, like when
The Beach Boys sing “God Only Knows.”