Ron Padgett





2/13/21


Tomorrow’s the day
I’m supposed to show
I love her, and
that’s okay by me
and with me,
as she has been,
longer than I
ever dreamed of,
but I keep dreaming,
even as she says
“Tuna salad?”






Baseball Bat Perdu


It strikes me,
like a one-inch baseball bat
to the head,
that what I do
is a complete waste of time,
but that the best thing I can do
is to waste time.
What else can you do with it?







Five


Five is a nice odd number.
Ask your hand.
Five is also a nice round number,
because the round numbers
are in general so agreeable
they let in the odd stray
anytime it wanders along,
looking for company
in the lonely world of numbers.
“OK if I come in?” it asks
and they say, “Sure,
make yourself comfortable
between four and six.”
Five would rather sit next to twenty-two,
but figures he’d better not push it.







I Tune In


I tune in the music station
but when I walk away
it goes buzzy again,
like in the Uncertainty Principle.
Do you know what that is?
It’s a wonderful thing.
It says you can’t measure anything accurately
because the act of measuring something
changes its nature. Or
something like that. Like when
you start to think about eternity
it moves away from you
just beyond your grasp,
which is a major accomplishment
for something so big it can’t be measured.







If Only


If only my hand and the pen it holds
could go off on their own
and write what it’s like
to be a hand and a pen
attached to the arm of a man
and then to be free of him,
more beautiful and alive
than he could be in his wildest dreams.





New York poet Ron Padgett’s Collected Poems won the LA Times Prize for the best poetry book of 2014 and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. His translations include Zone: Selected Poems of Guillaume Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars’ Complete Poems. Seven of his poems were used in Jim Jarmusch’s film, Paterson. Padgett’s most recent collection is Big Cabin (Coffee House Press).



Read next: Poetry by Rachel Levitsky
Back: Issue no. three poetry section