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Selection from Schuyler Haikus, 1954-58

First the worst: your check

bounced. The primroses sick from

air travel. Me with

a bug swim in swill,

the opening of bleak dreams

calls you lover.


left, I’m forwarding, there’s been

except. A card saying

last, a frying pan,

unaware, burned a

greasy rag like old

noir. I asked these

nippy days to wait, to come

home with less than a

long novella. A

joke: temperature seems to be

dropping new poems.

Your family sounds

literary little by

little since last week –

I’ll try to get my

keys in cold dumps. A smacking

kiss for my wound, you

in a deck chair

healing yourself in salty


                      That night, your

horror wants to see you hem-

stitching his hope.

The sun is radiant,

is past. The piece: you feel it.

Adolescence was

a major ani-

mator, a looker, under-

done. Here I am, on

the humid ocean,

our faces fade and turn in-

to the tiniest

idea in a

real place.

       I don’t want to hear

lacking. I’m falling

into a bottom-

less pit, the high life doesn’t

hear anyone, me.

Lives come in five

volumes, it’s quite a task to haul.

Me – all water

surrounded by small land

lagoons, oh dear, so well meant.

I have no idea

of how to mend it.

Wild things happen, we behave

like ourselves.

A doomed

affair is like bits here and

there, needs editing,

mistakes. I remember

the self – what a shame – holds better

things than the dirt.

A Sphinx: that’s what you

are, work out for beans, full, fair

and fine, but my

evenings barren

of intercourse. I’ve seen murders

on the waterfront.

Acknowledgement: This poem is an erasure of The Letters of James Schuyler to Frank O’Hara edited by William Corbett.