Poem in the Manner of Frank O’Hara
Is it true you started weeping
when you came across that picture
of John Ashbery in Water Mill?
Yes well, I weep all the time,
not because I am sad but because
everything eventually meets
everything else. Isn’t it gratifying?
Anyway it wasn’t about John’s clever
eyebrows and I am having a perfectly good time.
On Sunday I saw a Japanese film about family, then
walked down Houston Street in search of something
Norma wanted to work, which disappointed me.
Come walk the streets with me, Norma!
Have those dirty martinis you like! Am I not shinier than your manuscripts?
At Milano’s, a group of Venezuelans watched the Super Bowl,
it didn’t seem to matter much. The man
next to me was a pilot, Monday he was on call for a flight to Ohio.
I’ve never been to Ohio, but I showed him a poem by Frank O’Hara
and showed the bartender too because I wanted to make him cry.
He was charming and took several
cigarette breaks. In the spring,
he’ll be playing Macbeth at a theater
right by my old apartment on Rivington Street.
Doesn’t it make you wild with joy? The clicks and entertainments?
I’m trying to explain about John Ashbery,
who gave a talk at NYU a few years ago
and I think shook my hand.
He wasn’t dashing anymore, and I won’t be either
one day. Other than that his face was the same,
clever and unyielding like a clean, steel hammer you can count on.
I was there with a friend I don’t speak to these days but I’m grateful for the occasion.
When Ashbery died, I was in Woodstock not too far away
writing my more laborious poems, fucking a twenty-two year old I liked
because he admired me.
I don’t need to explain myself, do I?
This is my youth, isn’t it?
I am filled with anxieties and I don’t want to spend my days fluffing my wings
like a sidewalk pigeon, waiting for crumbs.
At least the streets are warm for February.
If I get dressed and ready now I’ll still make it in time
to meet some sharp and begging stranger for a beer.
by Alex Sarrigeorgiou
from Bodega Magazine, July 2021