An Exercise in Love

By Diane di Prima b. 1934 Diane di Prima

for Jackson Allen

My friend wears my scarf at his waist
I give him moonstones
He gives me shell & seaweeds
He comes from a distant city & I meet him
We will plant eggplants & celery together
He weaves me cloth

                   Many have brought the gifts
                   I use for his pleasure
                   silk, & green hills
                   & heron the color of dawn

My friend walks soft as a weaving on the wind
He backlights my dreams
He has built altars beside my bed
I awake in the smell of his hair & cannot remember
his name, or my own.

Diane di Prima, “An Exercise in Love” from Pieces of a Song. Copyright © 1990 by Diane di Prima. Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books.

Source: Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems (City Lights Books, 1990)

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Poet Diane di Prima b. 1934

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Subjects Living, Marriage & Companionship, The Body, Love, Romantic Love, Relationships, Men & Women

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Feminist Beat poet Diane di Prima was born in Brooklyn, New York. She attended Swarthmore College for two years before moving to Greenwich Village in Manhattan and becoming a writer in the emerging Beat movement. There, she developed friendships with poets Amiri Baraka, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Frank O’Hara, and Audre Lorde. After joining Timothy Leary’s intentional community in upstate New York, she moved to San Francisco . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, The Body, Love, Romantic Love, Relationships, Men & Women

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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