A City Winter
Photos: Richard Xiang
Words: Frank O'Hara
1 I understand the boredom of the clerks fatigue shifting like dunes within their eyes a frightful nausea gumming up the works that once was thought aggression in disguise. Do you remember? then how lightly dead seemed the moon when over factories it languid slid like a barrage of lead above the heart, the fierce inventories of desire. Now women wander our dreams carrying money and to our sleep's shame our hands twitch not for swift blood-sunk triremes nor languorous white horses nor ill fame, but clutch the groin that clouds a pallid sky where tow'rs are sinking in their common eye.
2 My ship is flung upon the gutter's wrist and cries for help of storm to violate that flesh your curiosity too late has flushed. The stem your garter tongue would twist has sunk upon the waveless bosom's mist, thigh of the city, apparition, hate, and the tower whose doves have, delicate, fled into my blood where they are not kissed. You have left me to the sewer's meanwhile, and I have answered the sea's open wish to love me as a bonfire's watchful hand guards red the shore and guards the hairy strand, our most elegant lascivious bile, my ship sinking beneath the gutter's fish.
3 How can I then, my dearest winter lay, disgorge the tasty worm that eats me up falling onto the stem of a highway whose ardent rainbow is the spoon's flat cup and in the vilest of blue suited force enamored of the heated needle's arm finds the ministrant an own tongue's remorse so near the blood and still so far from harm, thus to be eaten up and gobbled down volcanoes of speedometers, the strike that heats the iris into flame and flow'rs the panting chalice so a turning pike: you are not how the gods refused to die, and I am scarred forever neath the eye.
4 What are my eyes? if they must feed me, rank with forgetting, in the jealous forest of lustrous blows, so luminously blank through smoke and in the light. All faint, at rest, yet I am racing towards the fear that kills them off, friends and lovers, hast'ning through tears like alcohol high in the throat of hills and hills of night, alluring! their black cheers falling upon my ears like nails. And there the bars grow thick with onanists and camps and bivouacs of bears with clubs, are fair with their blows, deal death beneath purple lamps and to me! I run! closer always move, crying my name in fields of dead I love.
5 I plunge deep within this frozen lake whose mirrored fastnesses fill up my heart, where tears drift from frivolity to art all white and slobbering, and by mistake are the sky. I'm no whale to cruise apart in fields impassive of my stench, my sake, my sign to crushing seas that fall like fake pillars to crash! to sow as wake my heart and don't be niggardly. The snow drifts low and yet neglects to cover me, and I dance just ahead to keep my heart in sight. How like a queen, to seek with jealous eye the face that flees you, hidden city, white swan. There's no art to free me, blinded so.