Got up and dressed up and went out & got laid Then died and got buried in a coffin in the grave, Man— Yet everything is perfect, Because it is empty, Because it is perfect with emptiness, Because it's not even happening. Everything Is Ignorant of its own emptiness— Anger Doesn't like to be reminded of fits— You start with the Teaching Inscrutable of the Diamond And end with it, your goal is your startingplace, No race was run, no walk of prophetic toenails Across Arabies of hot meaning—you just numbly don't get there
From Mexico City Blues. Copyright © 1959 by Jack Kerouac. Used by permission of SLL/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.
The changing light at San Francisco is none of your East Coast light none of your pearly light of Paris The light of San Francisco is a sea light an island light And the light of fog blanketing the hills drifting in at night through the Golden Gate to lie on the city at dawn And then the halcyon late mornings after the fog burns off and the sun paints white houses with the sea light of Greece with sharp clean shadows making the town look like it had just been painted But the wind comes up at four o’clock sweeping the hills And then the veil of light of early evening And then another scrim when the new night fog floats in And in that vale of light the city drifts anchorless upon the ocean
From How to Paint Sunlight by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Copyright © 2000 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.
Then we are in the back seat of a car kissing
not the light kind but one where our
hands are on each other’s cheeks holding
each other’s heads as if they will fall
off why does so much love come at the beginning
then disappear then once again at the moment
before death why can’t the same kind exist
in between in the breaths in the
afternoon in the sitting room in a place of costumes
little girls dress like princesses one pink one
blue one yellow they wear plastic heels because
they still think they will never fall
Copyright @ 2014 by Victoria Chang. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on August 18, 2014.
Someone will love you many will love
you many will brother you some of these
loves will bother you some will leave you
one might haunt you hunt you in your
sleep make you weep the tearless kind of
weep the kind of weep that drowns your
organs slowly there are little oars in your body
little boats grab onto them and row and row
someone will tell you no but you won’t know
he is right until you have already wrung your
own heart dry your hands dripping knives until
you have already reached your hands into his
body and put them through his heart love is
the only thing that is not an argument
Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Chang. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 29, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.