Frank Bidart

F
Frank Bidart
The Fourth Hour of the Night
I

Out of scarcity,—
...being.

Because, when you were nine, your father

was murdered,
betrayed.

Because the traveler was betrayed by those with

whom he had the right to seek
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Visions at 74
The planet turns there without you, beautiful.
Exiled by death you cannot
touch it. Weird joy to watch postulates

lived out and discarded, something crowded
inside us always craving to become something
glistening outside us, the relentless planet

showing itself the logic of what is
buried inside it. To love existence
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Poem Ending with a Sentence by Heath Ledger
Each grinding flattened American vowel smashed to
centerlessness, his glee that whatever long ago mutilated his

mouth, he has mastered to mutilate

you: the Joker's voice, so unlike
the bruised, withheld, wounded voice of Ennis Del Mar.

Once I have the voice

that's
the line
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Self-Portrait, 1969
He's still young—; thirty, but looks younger—
or does he? . . . In the eyes and cheeks, tonight,
turning in the mirror, he saw his mother,—
puffy; angry; bewildered . . . Many nights
now, when he stares there, he gets angry:—
something unfulfilled there, something dead
to what he once thought he surely could be—
Now, just the glamour of habits . . .
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Stanzas Ending with the Same Two Words
At first I felt shame because I had entered
through the door marked Your Death.

Not a valuable word written
unsteeped in your death.

You are the ruin whose arm encircles the young woman
at the posthumous bar, before your death.

The grass is still hungry
above you, fed by your death.
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In Memory of Joe Brainard
the remnant of a vast, oceanic
bruise (wound delivered early and long ago)

was in you purity and
sweetness self-gathered, CHOSEN



When I tried to find words for the moral sense that unifies
and sweetens the country voices in your collage The Friendly Way,

you said It's a code.
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The Third Hour of the Night
When the eye

When the edgeless screen receiving
light from the edgeless universe

When the eye first

When the edgeless screen facing
outward as if hypnotized by the edgeless universe

When the eye first saw that it

Hungry for more light
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Herbert White
"When I hit her on the head, it was good,

and then I did it to her a couple of times,—
but it was funny,—afterwards,
it was as if somebody else did it...

Everything flat, without sharpness, richness or line.

Still, I liked to drive past the woods where she lay,
tell the old lady and the kids I had to take a piss,
hop out and do it to her...
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If  See No End In Is
What none knows is when, not if.
Now that your life nears its end
when you turn back what you see
is ruin. You think, It is a prison. No,
it is a vast resonating chamber in
which each thing you say or do is

new, but the same. What none knows is
how to change. Each plateau you reach, if
single, limited, only itself, in-
cludes traces of  all the others, so that in the end
limitation frees you, there is no
end, if   you once see what is there to see.

You cannot see what is there to see —
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