On Taking the Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara on Vacation
Just that title itself is cumbersome,
let alone stuffing you under the seat in front of me.
But “Poem” or “Song” just won’t do.
I’ve looked at that new selected,
and it doesn’t have what I want,
Frank, the raspberry sweater,
the song where you declare,
from the back of a cab,
that disease is worrying come true.
I’ve traveled with Meditations in an Emergency,
carried it all the way to Apsheron,
an Azerbaijani restaurant on Ocean Ave., Sheepshead Bay,
and gave it to a friend at her wedding celebration
as she held her baby daughter, Yeva Grace.
Along with it, a card with cherry blossoms
and the words “May you always make one another happy.”
so much baggage you are.
And here I go,
off to another wedding,
this time the gift,
a mandoline slicer,
to Washington, D.C.
While I’m there, I’ll see your Baltimore,
even if you didn’t like it,
and I’ll take all 600 pages of you with me,
through the little air puffers in the terminal,
through the knots of shoeless businessmen,
on the airplane, on the metro.
Even the back page where, years ago,
on a bustling wooden dock,
I penciled the lines:
“I had a vision of us apart,
and when I asked how you were doing,
you said ‘good,’
and when you asked how I was doing,
I said ‘good,’
and I meant it.”