New Personal Poem

By Ted Berrigan 1934–1983 Ted Berrigan

to Michael Lally

You had your own reasons for getting
In your own way. You didn’t want to be
Clear to yourself. You knew a hell
Of a lot more than you were willing
                 to let yourself know. I felt
Natural love for you on the spot. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Right.
Beautiful. I don’t use the word lightly. I
Protested with whatever love (honesty) (& frontal nudity)
A yes basically reserved Irish Catholic American Providence Rhode
                 Island New Englander is able to manage. You
Are sophisticated, not uncomplicated, not
Naïve, and Not simple. An Entertainer, & I am, too.
Frank O’Hara respected love, so do you, & so do we.
He was himself & I was me. And when we came together
Each ourselves in Iowa, all the way
That was love, & it still is, love, today. Can you see me
In what I say? Because as well I see you know
In what you have to say, I did love Frank, as I do
You, “in the right way”.
That’s just talk, not Logos,
                 a getting down to cases:
I take it as simple particulars that
                 we wear our feelings on our faces.

Ted Berrigan, "New Personal Poem" from The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan. Copyright © 2007 by Ted Berrigan.  Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: Selected Poems (Penguin Books, 1994)

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Poet Ted Berrigan 1934–1983

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Subjects Living, Life Choices, The Mind, Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Biography

Ted Berrigan—Edmund Joseph Michael Berrigan Jr.—was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the oldest of three children of Margaret Dugan and Edmund Berrigan, the chief engineer at Ward’s Baking Company. On both sides the family was Irish Catholic. Berrigan attended local schools and entered Providence College, a local Catholic school, but left after a year and enlisted in the army.

Berrigan was sent to Korea in 1954 but never saw . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, The Mind, Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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