Wednesday, February 14, 2018


for Karen A.

It was a gorgeous day to wander around Georgetown.
I didn’t. I got up early, “wrote” a “book,”
listened to some “classical” music like Liszt and Couperin,

Buchanan and Dylan, read about a marriage that
by not being a real marriage at all turned out to be
a beautiful true marriage—what has “true”
got to do with “real” anyway—like today,
what has today got to do with me and you

besides the way it makes me feel full
the way you can do, brings the good things
people say the country offers right here to the city
for a countryphobe like me, so I leave my music and words

and catch the street. Everyone’s out today!
Claudia! Ed! Terry! Henry! Ralph! I wish I was
as bright as the day, so after a while of being dazzled
I go home and take a shower with all the windows open

and I shave and jump around to the good sounds—
I remember to take the huge heart shaped box of candy,
I bought it for the kids, out of the bag and put it

somewhere where it won’t melt. I drink some milk
and eat some cheese, think about all the people
I should write a poem to for “Valentine’s Day,”
for “Washington’s Birthday,” for this wonderful weather
the world gives us despite our arrogance and
belligerence toward it, but I notice the time and
there is no time! Got to run, so I do,

in some new shoes that hurt my toes, but the rest of
my clothes feel fine, and I know I am, on the street again

paying homage to the sun with my grin. I feel like
Ted Berrigan walking with my head held high, jaunty
like Hollywood English types, and a little mischievous too,

thinking about how I can do something fun and funny for you
like the sun is doing for me as I strut. There’s
my car! I haven’t seen it in almost
24 hours
so I throw it a kiss because I’m not a good owner
but I love it and that seems to keep something going.
I get in ready to cruise these canals to your veranda
or something Eddie Arnold and ’
30s Hollywood like that,
only the corner of my eye catches the bank clock and
surprise! (Spencer Tracy in
A Man’s Castle with
Loretta Young I think, swimming nude!) It’s
4:15 PM!
I can’t believe it! I go into Discount Books to look
for Terry to check. He’s not there but someone
I don’t know says “Hi Mike!” so I say “Hi. Do you know
what time it is?” and he looks at his watch and says
“Well, the government says it’s four twenty but
it’s really three twenty . . .” and some more words.
I don’t hear them thinking about you and ”true” and
“real” and wondering what he meant the “real” time
and what was “mine” . . . You should be there because
it’s almost
5:30 in my life, but in the bank’s and
the guy who knows my name it’s only 4:30 and somewhere

out in abstract city it’s “really” only 3:30. Maybe
that’s why it’s so warm. I back up, back home, back
to back Dylan charms me to the typewriter where
I write to you to kill the time and to say
“Wontchu be my valentine?” 

(C) 1974 Michael Lally

[written to Karen Allen on Valentine's Day 1974
in Washington DC where you could then park
overnight in our Dupont Circle neighborhood
without fear of getting a ticket...


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, breathtaking love poem, Michael!
Harry Northup

Lally said...

thanks Harry