Birthday Boy

July 25, 2010

Curiously, I thought of Frank O’Hara
the day after the day I did not get
run over by a truck on Franklin Avenue.
I guess it’s just that story—how he did
get run over and did die. Out on Fire Island.
How he wrote, You just go on your nerve…
You don’t turn around and shout,
‘Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep.’
Or maybe it’s because Frank and my father were
the same age, and today is the day my father died
five years ago. Imagine if you could go through life
celebrating the day you were born and the day
you were going to die, that you knew.
I’m sixty-three today.
Happy Birthday!
And I’m going to live X more years.
Happy Deathday!
(No, I’m not going to
fill in the blank on that X.
We don’t tempt those gods.)
Poor Carol. I’m going to her funeral today.
I can’t even say I let her down. She was my neighbor.
I can say this, though.
If someone’s chasing you down the block,
you just run, Carol. Just run.
That would be Frank’s advice anyway,
if he was still alive.


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