February 25, 2021

It’s Thursday at 3:55 PM in Tarrytown
which will never be New York City
but there’s the Hudson and trees.
The kids are home from school.
My daughter is about to turn sixteen.
I am about to turn forty-four.
We’re both Pisces.
I am reading Alex’s new book
and after every couple of pages I say Fuck You out loud
because each poem makes me fall in love
with sadness, then breaks up with me
by the end, abandoned to joy.

Anne Lamott tweeted
Laughter is carbonated holiness.
If I wrote a line that true, I’d stop and die happy!
No, I wouldn’t. Wisdom is earned
and whoever makes it look easy is being kinder than you realize
in fewer words.

It’s OK to be a lonely person
there’s a lot to be grateful for.

I never met Ferlinghetti, but I met Ram Dass near the end, in Maui.
I told him I was hoping for an enlightenment
more real than psychedelics.
He said Now, now,
and sat with us and taught the kids to chant

          I                   am               loving                      awareness

                      I                   AM              loving                      awareness

                                  I                   am               LOVING                  awareness.

When my daughter was seven
she left the dinner table because her twin brothers were fighting
(they were five)
and came back with a book by Thich Nhat Hanh
to read a passage she had circled about the suffering of anger.

So maybe some wisdom is free
at least until we grow out of it.

Thich Nhat Hanh is still alive in Vietnam,
growing out of everything he knows.

Maybe we die when there’s nothing left to grow out of.
My grandfather lived to 101. That’s worth something
in this disposable world. I’m still young
for a poet. Even rock stars live forever now.
It’s a hard job to write a song so hot
everybody learns the words by heart
and sings them back to you at the same time
in the dark (in the dark)
and then goes home to fuck. 

It’s even harder to write one that still sounds good in the morning.

—So sorry to keep you waiting like that!
My insurance agent called—his name is Brad.
Then I took a shower, thought about cooking dinner
but didn’t, and my wife said someone shot Lady Gaga’s dog-walker in LA,
and took two of her dogs
and she’s offering half a million dollars for their return
no questions asked.

I have so many questions.
Lady Gaga seems like a loving and wise person.
And artists need to be paid, people!
I hope she gets her dogs back.
And I hope Ryan Fischer is OK. 

Something needs to change so nobody gets shot.
Otherwise, we’re just lying on the sidewalk in LA
underneath all that great weather
with something warm pumping out of us.

 If we slow that moment down
and take away the pain
which is probably how it happens
we see in the pulse of that red fountain
how hard our hearts have been working
this whole time. 

If I’m lucky, John Lennon will be there
and put his cheek against mine
so his Liverpool accent is right in my ear
What’s the difference, man? 

I can feel his stubble
and hear the slow crashing of people around me,
bootsteps on pavement in echo.
They are afraid, and they are coming to help anyway.
And John pulls back and I feel his spectacles
graze my temple
and “Beautiful Boy” is playing now
as I look in his young eyes
and I think I’m about to laugh
because it is carbonated holiness
which I have, in fact, experienced
more than once
because it’s a hard habit to kick
and once you do
even your birthday can feel flat
and the possibility that your one ordinary life
might stretch out in front of you forever

 is real

 and a trick

 because it won’t.

 In fact, if you pay attention

 you can feel yourself

 growing out of it

          this body

                      even now.

[Note: “February 25, 2021” refers to Love and Other Poems, by Alex Dimitrov. It also mentions Thich Nhat Hanh, who died January 22, 2022, at the age of 95.]


Michael Quattrone (he/him) is the author of Rhinoceroses (New School Chapbook Award, 2006) and of the songs of One River (Wolfe Island Records, 2018). His work is included inThe Best American Erotic Poems and The Incredible Sestina Anthology. Recent poems are forthcoming in New York QuarterlyPoet Lore, and EcoTheo. Michael lives in Tarrytown, New York, where he reads for The Westchester Review and Slapering Hol Press. michaelquattrone.com