Michael Harper

Yaddo, Mrs. Ames & Black Men

circa 1966

I worked in the icehouse
and she complained:
late hours, bad for compost,
bad for the muse
one person removed;

he thought: I must get my own Yaddo.

Once he stood in the circle
of pine-topped trees
though he has to go to Skidmore to fire ovens

and probably would not have been invited
because of the hours he worked ’round the clock

There is a vantage point
at winter table above the office
that allows for every

including this one:
digital as the schematic softens

for one’s face sags
during the day
the muscles relaxing

do you want a morning cast?

much laughter [MSH’s Iowa BLUES & LAUGHTER]

for “character” talks back
behind the screen

but this is winter

one cannot be trusted
in the outhouse any time of day

and the icehouse
is always one person removed

keeps itself ready for late hours

more monitoring than usual
for this brand of fly in a late, bad time:

ointment too hot for salve on any wound

In memory of EdWilson, sculptor-extraordinaire,
who spent time in Iowa, knew Baltimore’s worst overlords,
camped in every vestige of tradition, both head and heart,
decamped in Vestal, New York: and how he loved tunes!