barefootsong: Photo of Oxford buildings and sky with text "Oxford blue." (Oxford blue)
[personal profile] barefootsong

To Frank O'Hara

Sometimes when my eyes are red
I go up on top of the RCA Building
         and gaze at my world, Manhattan—
                     my buildings, streets I’ve done feats in,
                           lofts, beds, coldwater flats
—on Fifth Ave below which I also bear in mind,
         its ant cars, little yellow taxis, men
               walking the size of specks of wool—
   Panorama of the bridges, sunrise over Brooklyn machine,
         sun go down over New Jersey where I was born
            & Paterson where I played with ants—
   my later loves on 15th Street,
         my greater loves of Lower East Side,
            my once fabulous amours in the Bronx
   paths crossing in these hidden streets,
      my history summed up, my absences
            and ecstasies in Harlem—
      —sun shining down on all I own
       in one eyeblink to the horizon
               in my last eternity—
                                    matter is water.

      I take the elevator and go
            down, pondering,
and walk on the pavements staring into all man’s
                                          plateglass, faces,
            questioning after who loves,
      and stop, bemused
            in front of an automobile shopwindow
      standing lost in calm thought,
            traffic moving up & down 5th Avenue blocks behind me
                     waiting for a moment when ...

Time to go home & cook supper & listen to
                     the romantic war news on the radio
                                    ... all movement stops
& I walk in the timeless sadness of existence,
      tenderness flowing thru the buildings,
            my fingertips touching reality’s face,
      my own face streaked with tears in the mirror
            of some window—at dusk—
                                    where I have no desire—
      for bonbons—or to own the dresses or Japanese
                     lampshades of intellection—

Confused by the spectacle around me,
         Man struggling up the street
                     with packages, newspapers,
                                          ties, beautiful suits
                     toward his desire
         Man, woman, streaming over the pavements
                     red lights clocking hurried watches &
                           movements at the curb—

And all these streets leading
         so crosswise, honking, lengthily,
                           by avenues
         stalked by high buildings or crusted into slums
                           thru such halting traffic
                                          screaming cars and engines
         countryside, this graveyard
                     this stillness
                                          on deathbed or mountain
         once seen
                           never regained or desired
                                          in the mind to come
where all Manhattan that I’ve seen must disappear.

New York, October 1958

       ~ "My Sad Self" by Allen Ginsberg



About the girl

The random musings of a librarian with a passion for reading (duh), a vast curiosity about the world, and a penchant for noticing things most people don't (like the way sunlight falls through the leaves on a tree).

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