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Then All the Empty Shall Be Full

Frederick Seidel, 11 February 2010

... I see you in the morning and I see you in the evening. That doesn’t stop the other things. The shorebirds and the shellfish make merry in the giant oil spill. The fire drill bell rings and rings and rings. Not everyone who wants to will. I see you in the morning and I see you in the evening. It’s back to school. And, in our district, it is time to vote ...


Frederick Seidel, 6 November 1986

... In memory of Jane Canfield ‘The speed of light is not the limit. We Are free. We glide. Our superluminous Velocity will take us far. For us, The superluminous is only the Beginning of our birth. How born we are. Compared to how we started. Vast, oh vast. A lifetime as the measure couldn’t last, The nearest destinations were too far: A billion years to reach the one inside You if you could – who holds you, whom you hold ...


Frederick Seidel, 22 January 1987

... My life. I live with it. I look at it. My spied on, with malice. It’s my wife. It’s my husband. It sleeps with me. I wake with it. It doesn’t matter. If I’m unfaithful – if I drank too much – It’s me. It’s mine. It’s all legal. I smell the back of my hand, And like the smell. Twenty-five years ago when I was still alive. I was twenty-five ...


Frederick Seidel, 11 March 2010

... The woman who’s dying is trying to lose her life. It’s a great adventure For everyone trying to help her. Actually, death avoids her, doesn’t want to hurt her. So to speak, opens her hand and gently takes away the knife Everyone well-meaning wants her to use on herself. There is no knife, of course. And she’s too weak. If you’re too ill, the clinic near Zurich that helps People leave this world won’t ...

Trump for President!

Frederick Seidel, 30 June 2016

... A perfect week for digging up the block. If you care, you repair The infrastructure or it will despair. Bear with the noise! We aren’t made of air.Tyrannosaurus rex on tires, gorging horribly, Fucks the street in bursts and jerks. The operator riding it bucks and charges forward And resumes his hippopotamus mouthfuls. The scene’s a slaughterhouse With dead meat screaming ...

A White Tiger

Frederick Seidel, 4 March 2004

... The golden light is white. It is the colour of moonlight in the middle of the night If you suddenly wake and you are a child In the forest and the wild Animals all around you are sleeping. You are in your bed and you are weeping For no reason. It is because it is tiger season. The big-game hunters’ guns are banging. The corpse of a real beauty is hanging From a tree in the darkness, waiting ...
... A man with the bulging belly of the rich man of his tribe, Older than middle-aged, and of course with many wives, Possibly the tribal chief but possibly a tribal scribe Who eats and drinks a lot and abundantly thrives, Walks through Central Park to get to the Met, And, after, over to Madison, destination Sant’ Ambroeus, A restaurant whose name rhymes with enjoy us, To meet and eat pretty girls before the sun sets, which soon will set ...

In Late December

Frederick Seidel, 15 December 2016

... For Mitzi Angel The man using the pay phone on Wall Street, His back to you, is using it as a urinal, And urinating – only logical! Our degradation is complete. The young woman, a crazy smile pickled in brine, Cross-legged on the sidewalk in a T-shirt that says TOMORROW, Holds a sign telling her sad story. She’s reading a paperback of Lolita, stealthily, behind the sign ...


Frederick Seidel, 1 December 2011

... I impersonate myself and here I am, Prick pointing at the moon, teeth sunk into your calf. I ought to warn the concrete that my passion dooms the dam. The poem I’m writing looks up at me and starts to laugh. Summer! Of course you are! You are my miracle! Just now we were in Rome. I have to be in Rome with you to be so lyrical – Or else it’s noon Alaska-time, the Auschwitz hour in Nome ...

Down below Riverside Park

Frederick Seidel, 7 May 2015

... Down below Riverside Park, On the river side of the West Side Highway, I walked along the bicycle path The Hudson flows past hugely, Across the way from New Jersey. And on the other side of the river, The New Jersey side, full of ugly, I saw miserable architecture, I saw the efforts to make something, I saw somethings that were nothing. On a stroll near Gracie Mansion Along the walkway above the East River, I stayed optimistic till The neon sign of hope stuttered out in my heart, The long-lasting stopped smiling ...

The Blue Suit

Frederick Seidel, 7 June 2018

... Richard Anderson, master Savile Row tailor, Opens the eleventh-floor hotel room door Wearing a new suit so blue It makes me smile, Something no suit has been able to do for quite a while. Welcome to room 1111 at the Carlyle. When earlier in the morning Richard crossed the street To the pharmacy opposite, A stranger coming out of Zitomer’s cried out, ‘My God, that suit is blue!’ Which was hilariously true ...

Worst When It’s Poetry

Frederick Seidel, 5 May 2016

... Here’s a naked fellow dressed up in some clothes, Arrogantly flaunting what he actually loathes – The Savile Row swagger and the nonchalant pose! He’s who he isn’t and he makes sure it shows. I’m Nobody! Who are you? I’m thinking, what would mother do? And what would Kafka if he knew? Emily Dickinson was Nobody, too! I’d say the day looks like there’s nothing new ...

Generalissimo Francisco Franco Is Still Dead

Frederick Seidel, 16 November 2017

... Every time I sleep I leave a stain. When I wake up, I climb out of a drain And step into my feet and it is plain That when I walk away I leave a lane Of garbage on the carpet in the train. Francisco Franco (El Caudillo) pokes his head up from the drain Where he’s been hiding with Saddam Hussein. He waterboards the peasants with champagne. Now maybe they’ll vote to give this madly inane Hitler buffoon his very own nuclear codes, let democracy reign! Make Spain great again! I shouldn’t touch it but I can’t refrain And don’t restrain Myself so what was once a tiny grain Of pain Is now a roaring lion with a mane ...

Track Bike

Frederick Seidel, 19 July 2012

... The bicycle messenger who nearly knocked you over Was me trying to. That was me circling Columbus Circle On a track bike, the kind with one gear and no brakes. Look out! No brakes with a message! I flashed around the velodrome Of my life, clinging to your steeply banked curves, And discovered the New World. It’s as if your body were itself a person And the person wasn’t you ...

Three Poems

Frederick Seidel, 12 September 2013

... A Problem with the Landing Gear Cars travelling the other way On the other side of the double yellow dividing line Carry people you don’t know and never will. The woman on the other side of the bed reading a book Is likewise going somewhere else. You are and you aren’t yours. It’s like you’re on the other side of the road From yourself in your car ...

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