Listen to Frank Bidart read this poem.
on each desk mantel refrigerator dooran array of photographs
little temple of affectionsyou have ironically but patiently made**********Those promises that make us confront
our ambition, pathetic ambition:confront it best when we see what it
promised die. Your dead ex-wifeyou put back on the mantel
when your next wife left. With her ironnasals, Piaf regrets NOTHING: crazed
by the past, the sweet desire to return tozero. Undisenthralled you
regret what could not have beenotherwise and remain itself.
There, the hotel in whose bar you courtedboth your wives is detonated, collapsing;
in its ballroom, you conceded the election.There’s your open mouth
conceding.A good photograph tells you everything
that’s really going on is invisible.You are embarrassed by so many
dead flowers. They lie shriveled before you.