reprint from my old blog: 08/25/08
Ashbery's Visit to Pahlevi, 1972 (after James Wright's "Eisenhower's Visit to Franco, 1958")
The American poet must kiss ass
The forces of darkness.
He has flown here first-class
And come down in the oil fields
Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi stands in a shining circle of CIA.
His wallet opens in welcome.
He promises all USA cars
Can gas up forever now
And live like Beatniks "on the road."
His police fill the prisons
With dissidents. Ashbery follows
His fellow celebrants to the banquet
Of the Avantgarde Arts Fest
Where Her Royal Empress Queen Farah
Gilds to their honor.
Smiles glitter in Shiraz.
Ashbery has touched hands with John Cage, embracing
For the Cultural Attache's report.
Clean new tankers from America
Glide along gantries now.
Their prows shine in the docklights
And their hulls swallow all
As everybody knows, and some knew at the time, Pavlevi's reign was a CIA op from the start——
they ran the coup which put him into power,
they trained the gestapo forces he wielded to keep his people in terror and suppression——
and I assume they advised him that putting some of his swindled billions into an annual "Avantgarde" Arts festival would pay off as a publicity stunt
to help counteract international outrage and protest against his police state regime——
I assume the Avantgarde artists invited and paid handsome sums to attend this yearly farce-stival
were vetted and chosen by the CIA's Cultural Committee——
carefully selected for their a-political esthetics——
See this for more about the 1972 gathering: http://thefaleslibrary.blogspot.com/2011/04/downtown-arts-in-pre-revolution-iran.html