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David Lehman

Ode to Modern Art

Come on in and stay a while
I'll photograph you emerging from the revolving door
like Frank O'Hara dating the muse of modern art
Talking about the big Pollock show is better
than going to it on a dismal Saturday afternoon
when my luncheon partner is either the author or the subject
of The Education of Henry Adams at a hard-to-get-
a-table-at restaurant on Cornelia Street
just what is chaos theory anyway
I'm not sure but it helps explain "Autumn Rhythm"
the closest thing to chaos without crossing the border
I think you should write that book on Eakins and also the one
on nineteenth century hats the higher the hat the sweller the toff
and together we will come up with Mondrian in the grid of Manhattan
Gerald Murphy's "Still Life with Wasp" and the best Caravaggio in the country
in Kansas City well it's been swell, see you in Cleveland April 23
The reason time goes faster as you grow older is that each day
is a tinier proportion of the totality of days in your life

David Lehman

David Lehman, photo copyright Star Black, 1998

David Lehman lives in New York City. He is the author of Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man and several books of poetry, and is the series editor of The Best American Poetry. In Jacket number 5 you can read the Introduction to his recent book The Last Avant-garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets (Doubleday, New York, 1998, ISBN 038547542, 433 pages, USD$27.50, CAN$38.95).

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