Homage to Ted Berrigan

Because it is raining outside, because I don’t want to write my paper and because I have Ted Berrigan’s ‘Sonnet XXXVII’ pinned to my noticeboard, I wrote this poem. The film to which I refer is from ‘Poetry in Motion’ (1982); you can find it on YouTube here.

I possess no poem. It is raining. And there are
Broken umbrellas scattered along the street.
Ted Berrigan is dead. Between vast strides are
Broken bars of chocolate scattered
On the street. The poem is caught in the rain.
Eyes fall heavy like raindrops on broken umbrellas.
Teeth fall heavy on chocolate and broken umbrellas.
On film, Ted Berrigan is reading the poem.
Behind him is a mirror and many Ted Berrigans
Reading the poem. His eyes fall heavy on
The poem like teeth on chocolate. After the poem
He looks up awkwardly. It is a beautiful thing.
The third line begins, ‘Ted Berrigan is dead.’
He gives me the poem in exchange for a broken umbrella.


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