[33] Frank Bidart

Grey Sparrow’s National Treasure in Poetry

Self-Portrait, 1969

He’s still young—; thirty, but looks younger—
or does he?…In the eyes and cheeks, tonight,
turning in the mirror, he saw his mother,—
puffy; angry; bewildered…Many nights
now, when he stares there, he gets angry:—
something unfulfilled there, something dead
to what he once thought he surely could be—
Now, just the glamour of habits…
Once, instead,
he thought insight would remake him, he’d reach
—what? The thrill, the exhilaration
unraveling disaster, that seemed to teach
necessary knowledge…became just jargon.

Sick of being decent, he craves another
crash. What reaches him except disaster?

—Frank Bidart

Frank Bidart, “Self-Portrait, 1969” from In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-1990. Copyright © 1997 by Frank Bidart. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, us.macmillan.com/fsg All rights reserved.
Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Source: In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-1990  (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997)
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