Frank O'Hara

27 March 1926 – 25 July 1966 / Baltimore, Maryland

POEM EN FORME DE SAW

I ducked out of sight behind the saw-mill
nobody saw me because of the falls the gates the sluice the tourist boats
the children were trailing their fingers in the water
and the swans, regal and smarty, were nipping their "little" fingers
i heard on swan remark "That was a good nip
though they are not as interesting as sausages" and another
reply "Nor as tasty as those peasants we got away from the elephant that time"
but i didn't really care for conversation that day
i wanted to be alone
which is why i went to the mill in the first place
now i am alone and hate it
i don't want to just make boards for the rest of my life
i'm distressed
the water is very beautiful but you can't go into it
because of the gunk
and the dog is always rolling over, i like dogs on their "little" feet
i think i may scamper off to Winnipeg to see Raymond
but what'll happen to the mill
i see the cobwebs collecting already
and later those other webs, those awful predatory webs
if i stay right here i will eventually get into the newspapers
like Robert Frost
willow trees, willow trees they remind me of Desdemona
i'm so damned literary
and at the same time the waters rushing past remind me of nothing
i'm so damned empty
what is all this vessel shit anyway
we are all rushing down the River Happy Times
ducking poling bumping sinking and swimming
and we arrive at the beach
the chaff is sand
alone as a tree bumping another tree in a storm
that's not really being alone, is it, signed The Saw
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