Nothing if not
complex, this Electra,
but whose?
Sophocles'? Euripedes'?
O'Neill's? Giraudoux's?
or the daughter of
a wise and gentle merchant
who told his child
when she was twelve,
with hair as black
as mourning, "I know
you love me,
but you really must
find someone else."

                 New Orleans Has Collapsed
                                        In appreciation of  Frank O’Hara

                 I was watching the hurricane news
                 thinking it’s bad but it’s not as bad
                 as they thought when all of a sudden
                 it was worse      why??    the levees broke
                 and the water poured through the sexy sweet
                 City of New Orleans     through
                 cemeteries and jazz
                 Zydeco and oysters
                 booze and Blues
                 balconies and Brennan’s
                 Black and White

                 Congregation Named Desire
                 Queen of the River Excess
                 did the God of those Righteous Boys
                 now running
                 the U.S. of A.
                 visit this flood upon your sensuous
                 banks     No    Noah in these boys’ plans
                 Oh  New Orleans  I love you get up!

"Scatology Series,”                               
Marek calls the erotic
sculptures he invites me to see
at the gallery where I run
into the man
who'd once been my life,
who'd introduced me to Marek;
"Scatology Series," to which I bring
another man, whom I met through
another man, who has twice been my lover,
and friend to both men I've already mentioned,
but not to Marek, whose wife is here
and helped with the opening of "Scatology Series,"
although they're living apart;
and I gaze at the objects
Marek has sculpted, sensuous urinals
in purest white porcelain, mounted
on steel, and I learn
that the man who'd once been my life
will be married in autumn,
(although this didn't happen),
and I leave with the man
whom I brought to the gallery
who will soon have to leave
to dine with the son of the woman
who has left him for the third time.

Don't wear it
said the mother—It
makes you look
Wear it
said the Irish lover—It
looks terrific
on you.
Won't have it
in the house
said the friend—It
reminds me
of my husband
who loved
Lipstick   Silk
Maraschino   Geranium
Tomato   Lobster
Fire    Radish
Toenail Polish   Blood.

Two Days After 

Finally, some sun.

From my fire escape
terrace, I look out

on another roof—

astro-turfed, lounge-chaired,     

picnic-tabled, planted—

see the sculptor

spray painting his

two rectangular shapes


Then, on the phone

from her farm
on the west coast

of England, Carol tells me

her daughter was all dressed

for her first Disco Night

at school, wearing the glitter

tee shirt she’d wanted, when

Carol realized

the New York skyline, the two towers

on her daughter’s tiny breasts.


"Float like a butterfly,
Sting like a bee,"
said Muhammad Ali.
"Think Yiddish,
Act British,"
said Daddy.
He loved Ali
when Ali was Cassius
Clay, and afterwards,
when he wasn't.
My gentleman immigrant father
with silk ties from Sulka's
of' Park Avenue, and hand-blocked hats
from Cavanagh's,
knew style when he saw it.
So I watched Ali
in his ring and out,
and watched my father
say "good morning"
to every employee
before he sat down
at his desk.
When the prediction came
from The Rumble In The Jungle
from the fetisheur in Zaire:
"A Woman With Trembling Hands
Would Somehow Get To Forman,"
my father already had them.
Ali went for
the Rope-A-Dope;
my family fought
about dosages of L-dopa.
Now Ali fights
my father's battle of the trembling
hands and tongue; lucky
he rehearsed with Foreman:
"I've wrestled with an alligator
for this fight."
Daddy is silent, but
they're both right.

Transfiguration Begins At Home

The "Cinderella Staircase" divided upstairs
from downstairs     its curves of elegance
branded early on the child   who turned it
into a story    over   and over again
The person who started at the top    was
never the person    who reached the bottom
The one who climbed it   from the bottom was
always different at the top   Cinderella
could turn into a princess    A prince could
turn  into a frog    Before a father could
descend it with a daughter on his arm
to give her away    in marriage   a daughter
would ascend it    with a father on her arm
to give him away   to silence   Anything
is possible