Fall 2016 (Volume 20, Issue II): 20th Anniversary Issue
Picasso made me tough and quick, and the world…
—Frank O’Hara, “Memorial Day 1950”
(with echoes of Whitman’s “Mannahatta”)
I happened to be asking for something
specific, whereupon, lo,
Van Gogh made me brazen and miniscule, and the wheat;
Warhol made me musical, and a shovel.
Buxtehude brooded me wondrous and bluish, and a bicycle;
Wagner—vaguer, a glacier.
Baudelaire made me impish and rhythmic, a decadence;
Chekhov, treacherous, and the Astro Dome.
Thus I, beginning to see what there is
in a name—when
Baryshnikov turned me burly and duplicitous, and twenty pancakes,
and Duncan danced me drunk, wary of wavering neck wear.
Chaplin made me sleek, transcendental, a translator;
Wiessmuller, a ululator, a figurer of velocity and greed.
By now I was anticipating an upspring
of the aboriginal, but
- T. Barnum spurred me spiffy and perseverous, a museum;
F. L. Wright, timeless, and the prairie.
Finally, insanely, I was needing to unfurl, needing to become
unruly, and tho
Whitman had transformed me, transplanted me actually,
You made me local,
and a city!