Personal Poem
    Now, when I walk around at lunchtime
    I have only two charms in my pocket
    an old Roman coin Mike Kanemitsu gave me
    and a bolt-head that broke off a packing case
    when I was in Madrid the others never
    brought me too much luck though they did
    help keep me in New York against coercion
    but now I'm happy for a time ard interested

    I walk through the luminous humidity
    passing the House of Seagram with its wet
    and its loungers and the construction to
    the left that closed the sidewalk if
    I ever get to be a construction worker
    I'd like to have a silver hat please
    and get to Moriarty's where I wait for
    LeRoi and hear who wants to be a mover and
    shaker the last five years my batting average
    is .016 that's that, and LeRoi comes in
    a tells me Miles Davis was clubbed 12
    times last night outside BIRDLAND by a cop
    a lady asks us for a nickel for a terrible
    disease but we don't give her one we
    don't like terrible diseases, then
    we go eat some fish and some ale it's
    cool but crowded we don't like Lionel Trilling
    we decide, we like Don Allen we don't like
    Henry James so much we like Herman Melville
    we don't want to be in the poet's walk in
    San Francisco even we just want to be rich
    and walk on girders in our silver hats
    I wonder if one person out the 8,000,000 is
    thinking of me as I shake hands with LeRoi
    and buy a strap for my wristwatch and go
    back to work happy at the thought possibly so

--- Frank O'Hara
FromPostmodern American Poetry

A Norton Anthology
©2013 W. W. Norton Co.

Paul Hoover, Editor
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