In the poem Red Shift, the author Ted Berrigan suggests that he is angry about a failed relationship he had twenty years ago. He is saying that memories of unhappiness and anger can sometimes linger on in someone's life. Through word choice, this meaning is communicated by using words such as "poison liquid air" and "I heave through it", to show the anger in his soul.
First, Ted is walking in the cold February air down the streets of New York. Ted is drinking and he is smoking. He says the streets look for Allen, Frank, or himself. That Allen is a movie and Frank disappearing in the air. His thoughts are heavy on his mind but, he gets through it.
Then, Ted's thoughts go back twenty years. He is thinking about a woman and saying to himself that twenty years ago he wouldn't believe he would be in the situation he was today. He once had everything but now nothing. He says, "who would have thought that I'd be here, nothing wrapped up, nothing buried, everything love, children, hundreds of them, money, marriage - ethics, a politics of grace." His thoughts continue to anger him.
Now, Ted is remembering 1961 when the woman was nineteen years old and pretty with middle age to come someday. Back then, he couldn't imagine this would have happened. He is angry at the painter who his wife left him for. The painter will forever be in Ted's thoughts which is only human.
Now, Ted at forty three years old, he does not want to dream about the future. He lived a long life with these unhappy thoughts never escaping him. He says, "When will I die? I will never die, I will live to be 110 and I will never go away and you will never escape from me." Ted says these memories will continue to nag and haunt him. He came into his wife's life to change it and did but, his existing feelings will never change.
Now alone and unhappy walking the streets of New York, Ted's fury and anger runs through his body. He says, "Alone and crowded, unhappy fate, nevertheless I slip softly into the air the worlds' furious song "California Dreaming" flows through my costume". His costume is his body.
In conclusion, Ted Burrigan is very emotional. He is angry about a failed relationship he had twenty years ago. His thoughts are very heavy on his mind and he gets through it. The painter will be in his thoughts forever which is only human. His existing feelings will never change. Finally, the world's furious song "California Dreaming" flows through his body.