blooming in my head this morning while the jackhammers
kick the asphalt six feet below the windows next to my bed.
Construction is not symphonic when it keeps the rhythm
of an old headache blistering under your left ear, like this—
Why is noise so indiscriminate in its audience? Your poems look
like noise, but they sing quieter than I do, though. In the end, each line
is you, whispering the names you love in a plainsong litany.
I think of you, writing, and I see a slip of notepaper unfolded
in your clean hand; you, grit-smiling in a bleached undershirt;
you, keening at your typewriter the day Lady Day died.
Your poems haunt me, Frank O’Hara. They do!
Your sweet experiments in tabloid tenderness; the way you pause
between stanzas to lean back and talk to your friends,
all those poets, all those painters— we know who they are now.
But that’s you, isn’t it? You knew how to croon over a name’s
own story, while I sit here, wearing old bed sheets at my desk,
fingers slapping the keyboard, kvetching about jackhammers,
carping at the road dust that will coat my words when this poem
This poem is a response to Frank O’Hara’s Personal Poem.