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« Knott as a Stranger: "Why Can't I Just Write My Crummy Poems?" | Main | "What's Happening": David Shapiro in memory of Kenneth Koch »

February 18, 2022


Archie Ammons would have liked this poem, I think. It's wise in moderation as if he'd written it himself. ". . . but wisdom says don't go too far." Just get home quickly.

I hope he would've. Thanks, Anne.

Fall 1965: Newly arrived

We entered the glowing chestnut-clad room,
noises of a party beyond.

At the edge of a screen
set up to hide the growing pile of coats,
was a tall, rusty-haired man
trying to look like a coat, recently left.

I slipped off mine and stood next to him:
a soft shouldered man,armored by a V neck sweater
under a soft jacket
in a room of dark-suited men whose clothing
announced, pronounced even, their eagerness.

'I'm Archie,' he said quietly as I stood close.
'Carol,' I answered, my shoulder lightly touching just below his elbow
We stood together, comfortable strangers
exchanging words in our entante cordiale,
at the edge of a swirl of earnest conversations.

Later, Phyllis appeared to take Archie home.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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