Red Shift - Poem by Ted Berrigan
Here I am at 8:08 p.m. indefinable ample rhythmic frame
The air is biting, February, fierce arabesques
on the way to tree in winter streetscape
I drink some American poison liquid air which bubbles
and smoke to have character and to lean
In. The streets look for Allen, Frank, or me, Allen
is a movie, Frank disappearing in the air, it's
Heavy with that lightness, heavy on me, I heave
through it, them, as
The Calvados is being sipped on Long island now
twenty years almost ago, and the man smoking
Is looking at the smilingly attentive woman, & telling.
Who would have thought that I'd be here, nothing
wrapped up, nothing buried, everything
Love, children, hundreds of them, money, marriage-
ethics, a politics of grace,
Up in the air, swirling, burning even or still, now
more than ever before?
Not that practically a boy, serious in corduroy car coat
eyes penetrating the winter twilight at 6th
& Bowery in 1961. Not that pretty girl, nineteen, who was
going to have to go, careening into middle-age so,
To burn, & to burn more fiercely than even she could imagine
so to go. Not that painter who from very first meeting
I would never & never will leave alone until we both vanish
into the thin air we signed up for & so demanded
To breathe & who will never leave me, not for sex, nor politics
nor even for stupid permanent estrangement which is
Only our human lot & means nothing. No, not him.
There's a song, 'California Dreaming', but no, I won't do that
I am 43. When will I die? I will never die, I will live
To be 110, & I will never go away, & you will never escape from me
who am always & only a ghost, despite this frame, Spirit
Who lives only to nag.
I'm only pronouns, & I am all of them, & I didn't ask for this
I came into your life to change it & it did so & now nothing
will ever change
That, and that's that.
Alone & crowded, unhappy fate, nevertheless
I slip softly into the air
The world's furious song flows through my costume.
Comments about Red Shift by Ted Berrigan
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Still I Rise
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You