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Three Elegies for Jimmy Schuyler


Per Diem


We spent all night on the boat with a light like
sunrise went James Merrill in his poem “Samos”
he recited it and “The Broken Home” earlier
I read a poem by Carlos Drummond de Andrade
I walked up Broadway and bought a pair of white Levis
a strange weight held my calla lily I wondered
what John Ashbery would do tonight
I had two different teas Elliott Sharp
called I’m wearing a linen jacket,
green shirt, new pristine Levis, black,
‘60s Euro style suede hightop shoes
“I’m gonna ram this down their throats”
Ilka and Luigi lent me Sarou, this French singer
I had a Cran-Grape Charlie Morrow
gave me Word Merrill ruled the podium
like a lord, finely groomed and with a
magisterial sadness approaching Horace
in sublimity and regal care of conception
I gave him a copy of New York Hello!
and saw him warmly kiss a man hello
the piano arrived, a piano is so different
from a keyboard, Vivien played Brazilian
pieces, then we went to Jimmy’s funeral
everybody was there, it was exactly
the same huge crowd that heard
him at Dia, now they heard him again, he
vastly left their lives, John was supposed
to introduce Merrill but couldn’t, someone
read “Korean Mums” then Merrill was reading,
in the same room Jimmy had given that
first public reading, when I saw him
in St. Vincent’s the other day he couldn’t
form words but looked good, attentive
and apparently comfortable, someone
calls from Brazil asking about S.F., and
Haight-Ashbury reminds me of John Ashbery,
the immense world Jimmy has given us