Tears, Oily Tears . . .

By James Schuyler 1923–1991 James Schuyler
Crying is a habit with me.
You mustn’t mind: onions make me
smog
headlines in the Daily News,
not getting enough sleep
going to the movies and not going.
Fear of getting bawled out by people shorter than me,
animals in zoos,
deserted buses late at night,
teargas, hunger, frustration
sob
and, oh, yes,
superfluous lines of verse and great beauty
move me to tears,
sliding out of me like oil
out of an over-oiled electric fan

James Schuyler, "Tears, Oily Tears" from Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems, edited by James Meetze and Simon Pettet, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2010 by the Estate of James Schuyler. All rights reserved.

Source: Poetry (November 2009).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2009

Biography

Pulitzer Prize winning poet James Schuyler was a central member of the New York School.  He was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent his teen years in East Aurora, New York, before attending Bethany College in West Virginia. During World War II, Schuyler served on a destroyer in the North Atlantic and remained in the US Navy until 1947. Before moving to New York in 1950, Schuyler lived for two years on the Isle of Ischia in Italy . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.