December 12, 2003

Three Poems by Ted Berrigan

Anti-War Poem (for Robert Harris)

It's New Year's Eve, of 1968 & a time
for Resolution.

I don't like Engelbert Humperdink.

I love the incredible String Band.

The War goes on
& war is Shit.

I'll sing you a December song.

It's 5 below zero in Iowa City tonight.

This year I found a warm room
I could go to
be alone in
& never have to fight.

I didn't live in it.

I thought a lot about dying
But I said fuck it.


So long Jimi,
Janis, so long.

You both were great.
We love you.

But, O, my babies
you did it wrong.


In Joe Brainnard's collage its white arrow
does not point to William Carlos Williams.
He is not in it, the hungry dead doctor.
What is in it is sixteen ripped pictures
Of Marilyn Monroe, her white teeth white-
washed by Joe's throbbing hands. "Today
I am truly horribly upset because Marilyn
Monroe died, so I went to a matinee B-movie
and ate King Korn popcorn," he wrote in his
Diary. The black heart beside the fifteen pieces
of glass in Joe Brainard's collage
takes the eyes away from the gray words
Doctor, but they say, "I love you"
and the sonnet is not dead.


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