For a rainy day, some ukiyo-e for atmosphere.
Frank O’Hara, we only had you for forty years.
It is still raining and the yellow-green cotton fruit
looks silly round a window giving out winter trees
with only three drab leaves left. The hot plate works,
it is the sole heat on earth, and instant coffee. I
put on my warm corduroy pants, a heavy maroon sweater,
and wrap myself in my old maroon bathrobe. Just like Pasternak
in Marburg (they say Italy and France are colder, but
I’m sure that Germany’s at least as cold as this) and,
lacking the Master’s inspiration, I may freeze to death
before I can get out into the white rain. I could have left
the window closed last night? But that’s where health
comes from! His breath from the Urals, drawing me into flame
like a forgotten cigarette. Burn! this is not negligible,
being poetic and not feeble, since it’s sponsored by
the greatest living Russian poet at incalculable cost.
Across the street there is a house under construction,
abandoned to the rain. Secretly, I shall go to work on it.
John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and Robert Rauschenberg as seen by Richard Avedon on May 2, 1960.