January 2

The old war is over the new one has begun
between drivers and pedestrians on a Friday
in New York light is the variable and structure
the content according to Rodrigo Moynihan's
self-portraits at the Robert Miller Gallery where
the painter is serially pictured holding a canvas,
painting his mirror image, shirtless in summer,
with a nude, etc., it's two o'clock and I'm walking
at top speed from the huddled tourists yearning to be
a mass to Les Halles on Park and 28th for a Salade
Niçoise I've just watched The Singing Detective all
six hours of it and can't get it out of my mind,
the scarecrow that turns into Hitler, the sad-eyed
father wearing a black arm-band, the yellow umbrellas
as Bing Crosby's voice comes out of Michael Gambon's
mouth, "you've got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive,
e-lim-inate the negative" advice as sound today
as in 1945 though it also remains true that
the only thing to do with good advice is pass it on

by David Lehman

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