A CHINESE PILLOW
at night a truce
Iran or Korea seems certain
I am beaten to death
a thug in a back bedroom.
O’Hara, “October” (1952)
It was dawn in Irkutsk and
the trees were on fire—
In the Garden of Scratch
We had steak and eggs for breakfast—
I’m up to my ass in coral and grapes,
Fiacres, roses, and blackbirds,
Cuneiform ledgers, and tropical art—
You don’t quite hear what I’m talking about
But you know what I mean.
There’s no second
sight, or something well-remembered
That might offer another side of the story—
No more distance, no more intimacy, simply more.
The end of the body is the end of the dispute.
You know what I mean
But you don’t know what I’m talking about.