The Magic of Numbers

By Kenneth Koch 1925–2002 Kenneth Koch
                                   The Magic of Numbers—1

How strange it was to hear the furniture being moved around in the apartment upstairs!
I was twenty-six, and you were twenty-two.


                                   The Magic of Numbers—2

You asked me if I wanted to run, but I said no and walked on.
I was nineteen, and you were seven.


                                   The Magic of Numbers—3

Yes, but does X really like us?
We were both twenty-seven.


                                   The Magic of Numbers—4

You look like Jerry Lewis (1950).


                                   The Magic of Numbers—5

Grandfather and grandmother want you to go over to their house for dinner.
They were sixty-nine, and I was two and a half.


                                   The Magic of Numbers—6

One day when I was twenty-nine years old I met you and nothing happened.


                                   The Magic of Numbers—7

No, of course it wasn’t I who came to the library!
Brown eyes, flushed cheeks, brown hair. I was twenty-nine, and you were sixteen.


                                  The Magic of Numbers—8

After we made love one night in Rockport I went outside and kissed the road
I felt so carried away. I was twenty-three, and you were nineteen.


                                  The Magic of Numbers—9

I was twenty-nine, and so were you. We had a very passionate time.
Everything I read turned into a story about you and me, and everything I did was turned into a poem.

Kenneth Koch, “The Magic of Numbers” from The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 2006 by Kenneth Koch. Reprinted by permission of the Kenneth Koch Literary Estate.

Source: The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006)

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Poet Kenneth Koch 1925–2002

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Love, Friends & Enemies, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Humor & Satire, Desire, Unrequited Love

 Kenneth  Koch

Biography

Prize-winning author Kenneth Koch published numerous collections of poetry, avant-garde plays, and short fiction while also serving as one of the nation's best-known creative writing teachers during a career that spanned over five decades. Associated with the New York School of poetry for most of his career, Koch used surrealism, satire, irony, and an element of surprise in many of his poems. However, "his satires are more than . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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