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

  1. 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,
O! O’Hara!
You made me local,
and infinite,
and a city!

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