Within me, the sipped, iced bourbon enacts the sense of a slow, April rain blurring and nurturing a landscape. Decades I’ve been pipe-dreaming of finding a life as concise as a wartime telegram. Ultimately, I’ve ended up compiling an archive of miscommunication and the faded receipts of secondary disgraces. In third grade, a friend’s uncle stole the two dollars from my pocket as I slept on their couch, and later he must’ve hurried into the night toward a flat in the nearby building where a newly minted narcotic promised to evict the misgivings from all riled souls. I told no one of the theft, letting the emptiness become my government, my friend’s mother counting her food stamps while we walked the late-morning blocks to a bustling grocery, within which she eventually smacked the hopeful face of my friend as he reached again for too costly a thing.
Copyright © 2019 by Marcus Jackson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 27, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
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.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
This poem is in the public domain.
Love comes quietly,
about me, on me,
in the old ways.
What did I know
able to go
alone all the way.
From For Love: Poems. Copyright © 1962 by Robert Creeley. Used with permission of the Estate of Robert Creeley and The Permissions Company.
was when the
the whole city
& we drove north
to our friend’s
where she had
power & we
later we stayed
in the darkened
apt. you sick
in bed & me
by candle light
in thin blue
your neighbor had
a generator &
after a while
we had a little
bit of light
I walked the
dog & you
a little bit
we sat on a stoop
one day in the
we had very little
money. enough for
a strong cappuccino
which we shared
sitting there &
city was lit.
Copyright © 2014 by Eileen Myles. Used with permission of the author.
When I had no roof I made Audacity my roof. When I had No supper my eyes dined. When I had no eyes I listened. When I had no ears I thought. When I had no thought I waited. When I had no father I made Care my father. When I had No mother I embraced order. When I had no friend I made Quiet my friend. When I had no Enemy I opposed my body. When I had no temple I made My voice my temple. I have No priest, my tongue is my choir. When I have no means fortune Is my means. When I have Nothing, death will be my fortune. Need is my tactic, detachment Is my strategy. When I had No lover I courted my sleep.
Copyright © 2011 by Robert Pinsky. Reprinted from Selected Poems with the permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.