This is the second poem I’m planning to commit to memory as a whole, instead of in half-recalled scraps. It also, maybe incidentally, acts as a corrective to the over-devout tones of the final verse of my first choice, by John Clare. In fact, reading it again, it acts as a corrective to the entire poem. As Joni Mitchell once, memorably, said: A little yin yang there for you, folks.’ It’s by Frank O’Hara.

After the first glass of vodka
you can accept just about anything
of life even your own mysteriousness
you think it is nice that a box
of matches is purple and brown and is called
La Petite and comes from Sweden
for they are words that you know and that
is all you know words not their feelings
or what they mean and you write because
you know them not because you understand them
because you don’t you are stupid and lazy
and will never be great but you do
what you know because what else is there?

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