March 23, 2005

Well you certainly are nice people

At the Moment of Death
-- by Frank Stanford

Girls kiss in the street

The cucumbers swell on the vine
And the lame cheerleader
Is let off early after the game.

Someone is thinking: are there enough
Smokes to go around,
Who will go for the coffee,
Will the ringing bother the others
On the party line?

No one can get through
To the house of the bereaved.

The coon dogs are lonely tonight,
But not the priest

I am still down
In Arkansas, still drinking
Charter and branch water,
Looking for a fight.

The undertaker creeps out of his daughter's room.
The janitor beats a spider with a broom.

To The Harbormaster
-- by Frank O'Hara

I wanted to be sure to reach you;
though my ship was on the way it got caught
in some moorings. I am always tying up
and then deciding to depart. In storms and
at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide
around my fathomless arms, I am unable
to understand the forms of my vanity
or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder
in my hand and the sun sinking. To
you I offer my hull and the tattered cordage
of my will. The terrible channels where
the wind drives me against the brown lips
of the reeds are not all behind me. Yet
I trust the sanity of my vessel; and
if it sinks it may well be in answer
to the reasoning of the eternal voices,
the waves which have kept me from reaching you.

-- by David Lehman:

Every so often my father comes over
for a visit he hangs his overcoat and hat
on my hat rack I brief him on recent
developments and serve us coffee
he is surprised that I like to cook
once when he made an omelette
he flipped it in the air much to my delight
and it landed on the floor yes that
was the summer of 1952, he remembered
the high breakers and how fearless
I was running into the ocean anyway
the important thing is to see you doing
so well he said and took his coat and hat
and left before I remembered he was dead

In memory of William R. Fox, July 12, 1944 - March 23, 2002


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