May 1999

David Lehman

David Lehman David Lehman's new book of poems, The Daily Mirror, is forthcoming from Scribner in January 2000. The paperback edition of his book The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets will be issued by Doubleday Anchor in October 1999. He is the series editor of The Best American Poetry, which he launched in 1988. He lives in New York City.

March 22    Click to hear this poem in RealAudio

At the party I saw Daphne Merkin
for the first time since her piece
in The New Yorker about liking
to be spanked also Nan Graham
of Scribner and Barbara Grossman
of Viking I told Phoebe Hoban
I put her in a poem it starts
"when happiness falls" that's
Rilke she said you're right I
said Robert Polito was in a glow
of elation he had won the prize
I told Kristine I like your earrings
Kristine said I like your vest
I gave Mary Karr my card and she
reciprocated with a deposit slip
with her phone number on it
& lets have lunch in Ithaca
Robert said I should deposit some
money in her account as an earnest
of my interest but how would she
know it's from me I replied seeing
her hand out a deposit slip to Carlin
Romano and it was still raining when
we went to Sardinia to celebrate Robert



April 24    Click to hear this poem in RealAudio    

Six professors from Toyota
University are slurping their soup
while I eat my sashimi and read
the Post my horoscope ("don't
be a sourpuss") lends credence
to the rest of the paper my
last class at Columbia was today
I read them an Ashbery poem,
"Myrtle," not saying it was by
Ashbery, and one of them said it sounded
like an imitator of Ashbery
and I said if you could write
"Lycidas" today without knowing
Milton's poem it would be
a superior achievement then back
to my room I went and no messages
were waiting for me good old radio
you always come to the rescue
with a trumpet and piano duet
and here's the tenor sax Joe
Henderson whose birthday it is
to prevent me from being a sourpuss



May 1    Click to hear this poem in RealAudio

May Day meaning "help me"
puts April out of its misery
the morning rings Mary Beth
has a migraine and can't come
to Erica's cabaret but Bill Wadsworth
and Jaye invite me to dinner
at Cafe Loup and Hamilton Cain
is happy the cover art looks
great a Jane Freilicher still life
Glen and Lynn aren't so
happy about tearing down a wall
in the new unbought loft
I however reread my recent poems
and think the guy who wrote
these is happy and has the voice
of Chet Baker in his mind
singing I fall in love too easily
I fall in love too fast      

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David Lehman: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue SevenThe Cortland Review