A Poem for the Old Man

By John Wieners 1934–2002 John Wieners
God love you
   Dana my lover
lost in the horde
on this Friday night,
500 men are moving up
& down from the bath
room to the bar.
Remove this desire
from the man I love.
Who has opened
   the savagery
of the sea to me.
 
See to it that
his wants are filled
on California street
Bestow on him lar-
gesse that allows him
peace in his loins.
 
Leave him not
to the moths.
Make him out a lion
so that all who see him
hero worship his
thick chest as I did
moving my mouth
over his back bringing
our hearts to heights
I never hike over
   anymore.
Let blond hair burn
on the back of his
neck, let no ache
screw his face
up in pain, his soul
   is so hooked.
Not heroin.
Rather fix these
hundred men as his
lovers & lift him
with the enormous bale
of their desire.
 
6.20.58

John Wieners, "A Poem for the Old Man" from Selected Poems, 1958-1984, published by Black Sparrow Books. Copyright © 1986 by John Wieners.  Reprinted by permission of the John Wieners Literary Trust.

Source: Selected Poems, 1958-1984 (Black Sparrow Books, 1986)

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Poet John Wieners 1934–2002

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects Love, Desire, Realistic & Complicated, Relationships, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

Biography

Born in Boston, poet John Wieners received a BA from Boston College and studied at Black Mountain College with Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, and Robert Duncan. He later followed Olson, his mentor, to SUNY Buffalo. A Beat poet and member of the San Francisco Renaissance, Wieners was also an antiwar and gay rights activist. His poetry combines candid accounts of sexual and drug-related experimentation with jazz-influenced . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Desire, Realistic & Complicated, Relationships, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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