B+O Furniture, Hinton, WV
--poems from Campbell McGrath
1. North Carolina
The more you allow the figures of black, silent trees
glimpsed by night from the window of a train near
Fayetteville into your heart, the greater the burden you
must carry with you on your journey, and the sooner
you will come to question your ability to endure it,
and the stronger your conviction to sing.
A tiger on our block, a real tiger, ivory and mallow orange,
coiled and sinewed, caged in the back of a pickup truck
in the driveway of the house of the two marriedmodels who
live three doors down, for a fashion shoot. These things happen
in Miami Beach. Beautiful, they are, beautiful animals.
Six months later she leaves him. And the sound of his rock and
roll band now, in the empty house, at all hours, practicing.
Two Poems for Frank O'Hara
Tonight the clouds resemble French surrealists
soft and electric and hot to the touch
hustling north from the New York Public Library
as if to grab the lease of the vacant apartment on E. 49th Street
Frank O’Hara rented for $31 a month in 1952.
Poor clouds. They have no sense of time
and no one has told them about the market system
and, being French, the plane trees in Bryant Park
have filled their beautiful heads
with a lightning storm of longing for Paris.
The School of O’Hara was like the School of Hard Knocks
only less so a school of tickles a school of muffled taps
a school of mittened hands at the piano assaying Rachmaninoff.
All in all Frank was a pretty good teacher he mostly taught
geometry mostly because of his fondness for Pi.
What could be more beautiful than Pi he often said to us
his faithful students who loved him dearly and not least
for a cognac stain in the shape of Delaware Bay on his collar
clearly visible in the light through the windows he threw open
those mornings to the cool clatter of city buses
and the pomp of geraniums potted in rusty cans along the sill
o! what could be more ruthless and beautiful and true
than a science built upon an indeterminable constant?
Son Volt "Tear Stained Eye" (a great song from another album I listened to repeatedly while driving the backroads of West Virginia)