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Mark Pirie  

All Together Now: A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney             


In Quiet

(A poem with Berrigan near the end)


Reading Ken’s
latest it ‘dawns’ on me

that three writers
have sent me homemade tapes,

especially for me,
in my ‘lifetime’.

This is good
because the tapes themselves

are good.
I think of making this into

my next poem,
but Ken once told

me I should ‘keep things quiet’
especially about O’Hara.

I’m thinking he meant here
O’Hara’s Poems Retrieved collection

but no matter
I can ‘keep things’ quiet, sort of.

Well, the first tape
was from Sam Hunt;

a tape of Charles Bukowski
‘reading’, the one where he tells some angry surfer kids

down the back to back off,
‘I’m packing a piece okay!’

And they do, they back off, or so I hear on the tape.
The second was from J.,

she always makes great compilations
‘Good taste in music,’

she said to me at the airport recently,
and I believe her,

I do, I don’t mind bowing to her good tastes!
And, finally, from Ken – some ‘blues’

had it in my car for weeks
‘I want to love you’ was the title of one of them

the tapes, but perhaps I should ‘keep that quiet’.
And so I do…thinking of Berrigan’s Sonnets

like how to write like him, or even just to write them.
Or even like Koch? I don’t think they’ll tell me though,

as Ken might say
‘They’re keeping it quiet.’

And I thank them and sit down,
so I can read them all again in quiet.

©Mark Pirie