Frank O'Hara

(27 March 1926 – 25 July 1966 / Baltimore, Maryland)

Ave Maria


Mothers of America
let your kids go to the movies
get them out of the house so they won't
know what you're up to
it's true that fresh air is good for the body
but what about the soul
that grows in darkness, embossed by
silvery images
and when you grow old as grow old you
must
they won't hate you
they won't criticize you they won't know
they'll be in some glamorous
country
they first saw on a Saturday afternoon or
playing hookey
they may even be grateful to you
for their first sexual experience
which only cost you a quarter
and didn't upset the peaceful
home
they will know where candy bars come
from
and gratuitous bags of popcorn
as gratuitous as leaving the movie before
it's over
with a pleasant stranger whose apartment
is in the Heaven on
Earth Bldg
near the Williamsburg Bridge
oh mothers you will have made
the little
tykes
so happy because if nobody does pick
them up in the movies
they won't know the difference
and if somebody does it'll be
sheer gravy
and they'll have been truly entertained
either way
instead of hanging around the yard
or up in their room hating you
prematurely since you won't have done
anything horribly mean
yet
except keeping them from life's darker joys
it's unforgivable the latter
so don't blame me if you won't take this
advice
and the family breaks up
and your children grow old and blind in
front of a TV set
seeing
movies you wouldn't let them see when
they were young

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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