james jowers

Rhapsody (excerpt)
by Frank O'Hara

You were there always and you know all about these things
as indifferent as an encyclopedia with your calm brown eyes

it isn’t enough to smile when you run the gauntlet
you’ve got to spit like Niagara Falls on everybody or
Victoria Falls or at least the beautiful urban fountains of Madrid
as the Niger joins the Gulf of Guinea near the Menemsha Bar
that is what you learn in the early morning passing Madison Avenue
where you’ve never spent any time and stores eat up light

I have always wanted to be near it
though the day is long (and I don’t mean Madison Avenue)
lying in a hammock on St. Mark’s Place sorting my poems

[copyright Frank O'Hara, 1951]

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