Sitting across the table from you
I think back to when our friendship
came down from the mountains.
It was a cold day and the miners
had not left for work.
You break a cookie in half like bread
and this sharing is what we both now need.
That which breaks into crumbs are memories.
Your gray hair cut short and you ask if I notice.
How can I tell you that Bolivia will always be
beautiful and everything I notice is you
and yes is you. Our napkins folded in our hands.
Folded as if our meeting now is prayer.
Did I ever tell you that your eyes are a map
and I would lose myself if you ever turned away
Copyright © 2022 by E. Ethelbert Miller. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 14, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
We shall have our little day.
Take my hand and travel still
Round and round the little way,
Up and down the little hill.
It is good to love again;
Scan the renovated skies,
Dip and drive the idling pen,
Sweetly tint the paling lies.
Trace the dripping, piercèd heart,
Speak the fair, insistent verse,
Vow to God, and slip apart,
Little better, little worse.
Would we need not know before
How shall end this prettiness;
One of us must love the more,
One of us shall love the less.
Thus it is, and so it goes;
We shall have our day, my dear.
Where, unwilling, dies the rose
Buds the new, another year.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 23, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
Yet I was, in peculiar truth, a very lucky boy.
In any case, the story begins
with darkness. A classroom.
A broom closet. A bowl of bruised
light held over a city. Or, the story
begins with a child playing
the role of an ashy plum—
how it rises to meet the man's teeth
or doesn't. How the skin is broken
or breaks because the body just wants
what it wants: to be a hallway
where men hang their photos
on the wall. Does that make sense?
To want to own the image of the man
but not the man? To bask in that memory
of what first nailed you to the dark?
From Sympathetic Little Monster (Ricochet Editions, 2016). Copyright © 2016 by Cameron Awkward-Rich. Used with permission of the author.
is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles
and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together for the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse
it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it
From The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara by Frank O’Hara, copyright © 1971 by Maureen Granville-Smith, Administratrix of the Estate of Frank O’Hara, copyright renewed 1999 by Maureen O’Hara Granville-Smith and Donald Allen. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Maru Mori brought me
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft
I slipped my feet
as though into
with threads of
my feet were
two fish made
two long sharks
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
in this way
for the first time
my feet seemed to me
like two decrepit
of that woven
of those glowing
the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere
as learned men
the mad impulse
to put them
into a golden
and each day give them
and pieces of pink melon.
in the jungle who hand
over the very rare
to the spit
and eat it
I stretched out
and pulled on
and then my shoes.
of my ode is this:
beauty is twice
and what is good is doubly
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool
"Ode to My Socks" from Neruda & Vallejo: Selected Poems, by Pablo Neruda and translated by Robert Bly (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993). Used with permission of Robert Bly.