from Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975)
A pleasant smell of frying sausages Attacks the sense, along with an old, mostly invisible Photograph of what seems to be girls lounging around An old fighter bomber, circa 1942 vintage. How to explain to these girls, if indeed that’s what they are, These Ruths, Lindas, Pats and Sheilas About the vast change that’s taken place In the fabric of our society, altering the texture Of all things in it? And yet They somehow look as if they knew, except That it’s so hard to see them, it’s hard to figure out Exactly what kind of expressions they’re wearing. What are your hobbies, girls? Aw nerts, One of them might say, this guy’s too much for me. Let’s go on and out, somewhere Through the canyons of the garment center To a small café and have a cup of coffee. I am not offended that these creatures (that’s the word) Of my imagination seem to hold me in such light esteem, Pay so little heed to me. It’s part of a complicated Flirtation routine, anyhow, no doubt. But this talk of The garment center? Surely that’s California sunlight Belaboring them and the old crate on which they Have draped themselves, fading its Donald Duck insignia To the extreme point of legibility. Maybe they were lying but more likely their Tiny intelligences cannot retain much information. Not even one fact, perhaps. That’s why They think they’re in New York. I like the way They look and act and feel. I wonder How they got that way, but am not going to Waste any more time thinking about them. I have already forgotten them Until some day in the not too distant future When we meet possibly in the lounge of a modern airport, They looking as astonishingly young and fresh as when this picture was made But full of contradictory ideas, stupid ones as well as Worthwhile ones, but all flooding the surface of our minds As we babble about the sky and the weather and the forests of change.