after Kenneth Koch




Ode to Someone

The thought of you sticks to my mind

Like a dustbunny to Velcro, O postmodern

Earth-goddess, woman whom I love!

I am in this chair and not in this chair,

My thoughts so errant and arrant

That I cannot write like me tonight.

I assume the voice of Enrico Thornburgh, a prize-winning poet

From Yonkers and Cincinnati. And I praise

All your attributes, your eyes behind octagonal spectacles,

Your hair unstreaked with grey (although you are forty-seven),

Your belly so eminently pokeable,

And your feet shod in fluorescent running shoes!

I am manic with coffee, colourful with images!

I almost typed "ruining" instead of "running"

And almost left it there! My love for you

Is absurd, like male chauvinism in the 1970s.

I am already that old: I remember when sexism was

Called "male chauvinism," racism was called "prejudice,"

When feminism was "Women's Lib." I remember kindergarten

With Miss Wilhelm, and Mom was surprised when I

Drew, as she put it, a Negro policeman. I remember Roy's Cold Cuts

And the Boston Phoenix. I hadn't yet met you:

This was 1975 or so. You would have been three

Or pre-embryonic. A twinkle in the eye of your dad.

I remember stickball in the asphalt

Yard around the Otis School. The bigger kids did that.

I drew maps of Europe and emulated Robert Frost.

I remember doing five-line stanzas in practically

The first poem I ever wrote because Frost did five-liners

For "The Road Not Taken." My poem was called "Duo Mundi"

("Two worlds" in Latin); I rhymed "stars" with "Mars."

Addictive personality already at eleven, on New Year's Eve 1980,

I guzzled orange soda until I had to heave. It was like getting drunk,

Which I would do many times in subsequent years.

But this is supposed to be a poem about you, my goddess,

My queen, and as usual, egotistical schmuck that I am,

I'm talking about myself. Let's talk about music

Or the boulders in the woods of Ponkapoag.

Let's talk about that copper-brown jacket I had

Until I lost it somewhere on the campus of UMass Amherst.

Let's talk about God, who is either a loving mother-figure

If we listen to Julian of Norwich, or an intolerant chode

If we listen to Franklin Graham. Let's forget about the fact

That democracy is in peril. You are my monarch

Sempiternal! Not even Delmore Schwartz

Could sing your praises with adequate panache!

If I were a male chauvinist, or a tough guy from the film

Noir era, I'd call you a classy dame or a dollface.

I'd say you were easy on the eyes. As matters stand,

You make my myocardium do the macarena.

You're the cat's meow, you are, and I don't even care

For cats.





Poetry by Thomas D The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 29 times
Written on 2020-10-17 at 07:05

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bibek adhikari The PoetBay support member heart!
Beautiful. :)

Reminds me of Frank O'Hara's "I do this, I do that" style of writing poetry. And also Kenneth Koch. Oh, the New York School of Poetry!
2020-10-19


josephus The PoetBay support member heart!
Wow! Just “WOW! What a delight!
2020-10-17