After Tim Dlugos' Things I Might Do I probably didn't tell you that the last Line of your poem left me on a plane of Movement somewhere between the best of pop Culture and the longest break in your favorite pop song I probably didn't tell you that the train is going to take Way longer than you think and you were probably annoyed I probably broke the moon in pieces with my night vision Straining too hard to remember what I probably dropped in your inbox I probably should've said what I meant. You probably knew how my life didn't fix into That theory box on your shelf, so I probably Ignored you when you said hi to me near Mercer St I probably left off the most important thing But you probably didn't want to hear it I probably tried to be a good New Yorker and Work hard and play hard but it didn't work Out that way, I probably just reverted back to The Rust Belt mode—work hard, have it not mean Enough to play hard or play at all. It's probably too hard to make A dent for yourself in the Rust Belt. It's all probably said and done Your neighbor knows what you did tomorrow and what was Going on yesterday. Probably good too so you don't get in trouble With the other neighbor. But they probably don't know that you could Be in NY for a few hours and have something good and so life changing happen To you it was probably a 360 for you and probably took You years to come down to 180, probably, right?
From Shorthand and Electric Language Stars by Stephanie Gray. Copyright © 2015 Stephanie Gray. Used with permission of Portable Press at Y-Yo Labs.
Am I to become profligate as if I were a blonde? Or religious as if I were French?
Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous (and how the same names keep recurring on that interminable list!), but one of these days there'll be nothing left with which to venture forth.
Why should I share you? Why don't you get rid of someone else for a change?
I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love.
Even trees understand me! Good heavens, I lie under them, too, don't I? I'm just like a pile of leaves.
However, I have never clogged myself with the praises of pastoral life, nor with nostalgia for an innocent past of perverted acts in pastures. No. One need never leave the confines of New York to get all the greenery one wishes—I can't even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there's a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life. It is more important to affirm the least sincere; the clouds get enough attention as it is and even they continue to pass. Do they know what they're missing? Uh huh.
My eyes are vague blue, like the sky, and change all the time; they are indiscriminate but fleeting, entirely specific and disloyal, so that no one trusts me. I am always looking away. Or again at something after it has given me up. It makes me restless and that makes me unhappy, but I cannot keep them still. If only i had grey, green, black, brown, yellow eyes; I would stay at home and do something. It's not that I'm curious. On the contrary, I am bored but it's my duty to be attentive, I am needed by things as the sky must be above the earth. And lately, so great has their anxiety become, I can spare myself little sleep.
Now there is only one man I like to kiss when he is unshaven. Heterosexuality! you are inexorably approaching. (How best discourage her?)
St. Serapion, I wrap myself in the robes of your whiteness which is like midnight in Dostoevsky. How I am to become a legend, my dear? I've tried love, but that hides you in the bosom of another and I am always springing forth from it like the lotus—the ecstasy of always bursting forth! (but one must not be distracted by it!) or like a hyacinth, "to keep the filth of life away," yes, there, even in the heart, where the filth is pumped in and slanders and pollutes and determines. I will my will, though I may become famous for a mysterious vacancy in that department, that greenhouse.
Destroy yourself, if you don't know!
It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so. I admire you, beloved, for the trap you've set. It's like a final chapter no one reads because the plot is over.
"Fanny Brown is run away—scampered off with a Cornet of Horse; I do love that little Minx, & hope She may be happy, tho' She has vexed me by this Exploit a little too.—Poor silly Cecchina! or F:B: as we used to call her.—I wish She had a good Whipping and 10,000 pounds."—Mrs. Thrale.
I've got to get out of here. I choose a piece of shawl and my dirtiest suntans. I'll be back, I'll re-emerge, defeated, from the valley; you don't want me to go where you go, so I go where you don't want me to. It's only afternoon, there's a lot ahead. There won't be any mail downstairs. Turning, I spit in the lock and the knob turns.
From Meditations in an Emergency by Frank O'Hara. Copyright © 1957 by Frank O'Hara. Used by permission of Grove Press. All rights reserved.
When Edward Hopper finishes his painting for the night,
sets the boar bristles to soak in turpentine, wipes the thick
not-yet-crusted-over drips from his smock with a blue rag
and tips his palette up to incubate tomorrow’s luck,
he isn’t thinking of the greenish light from a street lamp,
how it hits plate glass and fractures through it, or the counter’s
corner in an all-night city diner. Most of the time
he is just hungry, already smelling the stew his wife
likes to make from white beans and bacon. His eyes lose focus,
and his other senses — so long ignored in deference
to saturated color — come alive, more vivid now
because of their confinement. How clear the little click as
the lamp’s wick sinks below its silver mouth, scratch of bootheels
on the tile stair when he descends. He inhales the evening,
the butcher’s bloody work, stale malt that drifts from a window.
The snowy world receives him: flakes melt and run down his cheeks.
From The More Difficult Beauty (HipPocket Press, 2010). Copyright © 2010 by Molly Fisk. Used with the permission of the author.