George Oppen

(1908-1984 / United States)

Town, A Town ... - Poem by George Oppen

Town, a town,
But location
Over which the sun as it comes to it;
Which cools, houses and lamp-posts,
during the night, with the roads—
Inhabited partly by those
Who have been born here,
Houses built—. From a train one sees
him in the morning, his morning;
Him in the afternoon, straightening—
People everywhere, time and the work
One moves between reading and re-reading,
The shape is a moment.
From a crowd a white powdered face,
Eyes and mouth making three—
Awaited—locally—a date.


Near your eyes—
Love at the pelvis
Reaches the generic, gratuitous
(Your eyes like snail-tracks)

Parallel emotions,
We slide in separate hard grooves
Bowstrings to bent loins,
Self moving
Moon, mid-air.


Your spiral women
By a fountain


Your picture lasts thru us

its air
Thick with succession of civilizations;
And the women.


No interval of manner
Your body in the sun.
You? A solid, this that the dress
Your face unaccented, your mouth a mouth?
Practical knees:
It is you who truly
Excel the vegetable,
The fitting of grasses—more bare than
Pointedly bent, your elbow on a car-edge
Incognito as summer
Among mechanics.


‘O city ladies’
Your coats wrapped,
Your hips a possession

Your shoes arched
Your walk is sharp

Your breasts
Pertain to lingerie

The fields are road-sides,
Rooms outlast you.


Bad times:
The cars pass
By the elevated posts
And the movie sign.
A man sells post-cards.


It brightens up into the branches
And against the same buildings

A morning:
His job is as regular.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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