Frank O’Hara, “The Day Lady Died”

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
                                         I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing



Or in the manne…

Or in the manner of Proust or Nietzsche, can we become
reconciled to time by creating our lives all over again and turning
life into literature? p.12.

Hoy, D. C. (2009). The Time of Our Lives A Critical History of Temporality. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

this instant.



I am in the foggy hamster ball

that likes to swerve to objects of greater gravitational stamina

or it is thrown aimlessly across the fences

by undercooked young men

and everything is so whimsical

when I try to palm-kiss the plexiglass

sorry, the man stiffens his eyes and looks me up and down

this is not a day for visits

the first time she laid there

motionless, afraid she might break or soil something so new

with a hair-clip on her fingernail parted in the middle

she said, don’t look back, take care of your own lives

and a dusty spaldeen was stuck in my throat

just like the bulbs growing in her strawberry tree

that light up so easily these days

I tried to push it back

no no no no no no no no no no

I said NO

and I forgot about it the second I said it

there’s a steamed up painting

but it changes with each new water-filled balloon

that billows on baby’s nose and mouth

you want to make it go away

but it is hard to do so

this instant

isn’t it?


what the little man said

when he opened his third beer

and spilled it over his five-days football shirt

put up his feet on a small chipped table

and thought about the possibilities

that might have actually happened in some other fable

where he didn’t raise his voice too often

or imagined how others looked at her wearing that dress

where his kid asked him to help him draw a school project poster

about the community values, democracy and family

truth be said he didn’t know the possible meanings of community

until some guy helped him over the house threshold

and wrapped up his feet in olive-green military blanket

funny how the snow on this guy’s hands didn’t tickle him

he must’ve tried to wash them in the snow

because there were land mines of indecency all around the house

which itself looked as if it was jerked around by impatient police officers

and now he looks at him reproachfully

and makes the sound of a dead radio station

and tired of waiting puts on a record of kitchen orchestra

playing ‘why do you do this to yourself’ third try, go.

Just you, you and no one else
You do it to yourself



gudačke jagode

sviram čelo i to svakodnevno

prelazim preko ispucalog laka

koji je narogušen kao zameci

u džepovima večernjeg odela jagoda

i zanoktice redovno đubrenih i podgojenih oblutaka su seme

zar ne?

podbulo lice crveni i poprima njihovu boju

čime su punjene suštine

šlagom ili šundom

prazne kao ljubičasti krugovi na stolu

trubljenje nosa u sudoperi

dok se televizija hvali dogodovštinama

dozivanje kroz zatvorena vrata Zalomee, Zalomee, bist du da

ostavljena poruka na govornoj pošti

Hi baby, hi baby

Take it eazy baby

I hope you’re not mad

I took some fine

I lofe you baby

I lofe you

Zee you zoon baby

gangsta rap uz porciju paste

i got so much money i could buy a bitch

all the women thinkin’

I naravno uz prinzess krofne

štapić vanile svako veče pred spavanje

sve vam lepo piše na papiru

recept za ljubav



a cloudshaving with a couragebadge

that stayed sweating in my schoolbag for too long

and developed a second protective skin

from bumping his fists against the door

is mad at me

he stops at half a sentence

he wanted to impress me, he says


a reminder for the things to be done

wand 2








everything topped up with a smile

that fell through the X on a decaying map


Pleasant tunes of gritty shoesoles

And murmur of so many people trying to stuff their mouths

With something interesting to say

A girl with acne-prone skin wearing an oversized cowhide coat

And an ivory ponytail and a packed-in-a-hurry dirtied tote bag

Says it smells like CO2

Yeahh, like used breath

Breath from a thrift-shop

It smells like exhale

Nur eins.

The boy from security who saluted me with polymorphic Viel Spaß

Roadblocks me and his Nike-topped tollgate levitates for a while

Smiles can have so many signifieds

Like the band singer´s who is geil enough to chill at the doorstep

Sip beer and discuss the meanings of his long aaahs with the plastic crowd

Dude look he is right there, did you see him?

Willst du über Nacht bleiben?

Warte, warte mal!

At which stop do we have to get off ?

I remember it´s something starting with K

Ask him again

At which stop is your place?

It´s ok

Assures the stop sign and the curtsey of a lowered lip

Look at that guy, right there, oh my God

One man stays above the untergrund level

By walking the fence line

And does a cartwheel while still spaceless

There is an applause

Arms smear off the pink-and-blue haze

Like windshield wipers

Or pale-bronze fidgeting arms of a long-forgotten typewriter

Or waving off a certain question with “It doesn´t matter.”