against rage


Against Rage
Frank Bidart

He had not been denied the world. Terrible
scenes that he clung to because they taught him

the world will at last be buried with him.
As well as the exhilarations. Now,

he thinks each new one will be the last one.
The last new page. The last sex. Each human

being’s story, he tells nobody, is a boat
cutting through the night
. As starless blackness

approaches, the soul reverses itself, in
the eerie acceptance of finitude.

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash


cannot rest


You Cannot Rest
Frank Bidart

The trick was to give yourself only to what
could not receive what you had to give,

leaving you as you wished, free.
Still you court the world by enacting yet once

more the ecstatic rituals of enthrallment.
You cannot rest. The great grounding

events in your life (weight lodged past
change, like the sweetest, most fantastical myth

enshrining yet enslaving promise), the great
grounding events that left you so changed

you cannot conceive your face without their
happening, happened when someone

could receive. Just as she once did, he did—past
judgment of pain or cost. Could receive. Did.

Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash




The Poem is a Veil
Frank Bidart

V E I L,— as if silk that you in fury must thrust repeatedly
high at what the eye, your eye, naked cannot see

catches, clinging to its physiognomy.

stone hammer


Frank Bidart

The stone arm raising a stone hammer

dreams it can descend upon itself.

When the quest is indecipherable, —

… what is left is a career.


What once was apprehended in passion

survives as opinion.

To be both author of

this statue, and the statue itself.