To Alan Hurst

Written early on this semester.

To Alan Hurst

There are these feathers.
Tiny, white, down feathers,
that I often see floating around my head
as from nowhere.

My professor,
a gray old Englishman with a hound’s jowls,
stopped me as I began reading aloud
a poem by Ginsberg. “Don’t forget,”
he said, absently wiping a tear from his cheek,
(from his old, leaky eye)
“to read the title. The title is a part of the poem.”

One day he said,
“I love Frank O’Hara.
He is my favorite poet.”
He told us how Frank O’Hara would scribble his poems
during lunch hour, on a napkin
or the back of a menu.

I wish a dash of inspiration would come to me
sometime over a mugful of soup:
or as I observe these little white down feathers.
I wish those feathers were inspiration.
I could inhale one and cough out a title,
a downy puff of cleverness, a wet
ink stain
on the page, from my lungs to your eyes.
Alan would say: “Check!”

I could read the title along with the poem,
Then read the rest aloud.

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One response to “To Alan Hurst

  1. This is really lovely, Cullen. You capture Alan exactly, and the idea of the poem is right on . . . Check! Inspiration.

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