A FACT FROM BOSTON: A POEM

“The fact,” I tell each Kolkata lady, a fact I say now with a solemn smile—

“Will you stay, just a minute, by this imaginary magnolia for awhile?—

The fact is nearly as embarrassing as its presentation.

I have one life. But elsewhere there are many.

The man usually gives birth to a few children. But. Just in case.

Biologically, the seeds he carries—each one a different face—

Are so numerous, it is a miracle of miracles, yes—

If a planet, barren but habitable, elsewhere in outer space

Had enough eggs waiting, one man, in one act, could make a whole race.

This is why men are crazy: it is because there are so many.”

And, of course, yes, so many are ugly and hateful, more would be sad and funny.

But this one, once beautiful, has not had one.

The most beautiful she was, of her particular race;

She was not from Boston, but from a wrecked and ancient place;

He loved her madly, loved her elusive, modest, beautiful face,

With a sweet, repressed, polite, poetic passion—

You would have seen Kolkata transformed into a very poetic place.

They kissed in deserted places; they lived to kiss sad, smiling expressions

That flitted across their two shy faces.

It was not easy. Boston is not a quiet place.

But now they are apart. Something happened to the heart.

He dies every hour, for his children, for his poems, in the joyous agony of many.

She sits, bored, holding her phone. Her happiness is to not have any.

Kolkata ladies, now I know you must be on your way.

Thank you. There you are. Patiently, your scent lingers in the saffron day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. noochinator said,

    March 11, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    I know everyone is looking forward to Scarriet 2016 March Madness, and as an opening salvo here’s poet Daniel Haberman giving a passionate recital back in 1980:

    • noochinator said,

      March 11, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      I propose this short bagatelle by Alexander Tcherepnin as the opening fanfare of the Scarriet 2016 March Madness tournament — André Watts is the pianist:

  2. thomasbrady said,

    March 11, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    And let it be so.

  3. noochinator said,

    March 11, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    And perhaps at the opening gala we could get Dana Gioia to recite Eric Hoffer’s immortal verse, “The Importance of Being Named O’Brien”:

    I met girls aplenty
    East and West.
    Some weren’t much,
    Some were the best.
    I had them all
    Without even tryin’
    Just because
    My name is O’Brien.

    With Mexican señoritas
    I am a cabellero.
    I am OBREGON,
    A fighter, a hero.
    They give all they have
    And sure it’s plenty.
    My name reminds them
    Of El Presidente.

    To the ladies of France
    I wave my hand
    And present myself
    As Monsieur OBRIAND,
    I get all I want
    And I don’t have to wait.
    My name reminds them
    Of a Secretary of State.

    With the ladies of Poland
    I have all the luck.
    I sure have the looks
    Of a real Polack.
    She tells me her name
    Is Anna Rosinsky.
    I tell her mine
    Is Joseph OBRINSKY.

    In Russia the ladies
    Are buxom and tough.
    They can grab you and lift you
    And break you in half.
    But with me they are gentle,
    So loving and coy,
    For I am OBRANOVICH,
    The real McCoy.


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