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About this Poem 

“This poem was written on a napkin in Brandy’s Piano Bar in New York’s upper east side. Brandy’s is a remnant of old(er) New York where a solo featured pianist and a handful of bartenders take turns playing 80s ballads, Bob Dylan, and standards. We arrived, close to last call on a bitterly cold February night, after a new friend and I filled in on my brother’s Wednesday night trivia team at the Banshee Pub nearby. Just before close, two patrons asked if they could usurp the piano and mic for a three-song set. They were brilliant. Their set happened to be the nostalgia of my childhood jukebox, presented as spontaneous and ironic, but nonetheless sincere and therefore sad.”
Jennifer Franklin

First Love

The boy beside me
is not you but he
is familiar in all

the important ways.
I pass through life
finding you over

and over again—
oppress you
with love. And every

surrogate?
Afflicted by my
kindness, they leave

me with my music.
I loved you before
I ever loved you.

Copyright © 2015 by Jennifer Franklin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 9, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Jennifer Franklin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 9, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Jennifer Franklin

Jennifer Franklin

Jennifer Franklin is the author of Looming (Elixir Press, 2015). She teaches at The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, is coeditor of Slapering Hol Press, and lives in New York City.

by this poet

poem

I glimpse the tulips every two seconds.
They arrived late this year. Those who planted

The bulbs must not have considered how they
Would look from here—red, paired with pink dogwood.

Seven umbrellas float by; only one
Inverts. Ammonia swathed on the machines

Makes

poem

What secret had Nietzsche discovered
when he walked the Turin streets
before he flung his arms around
a horse being beaten and collapsed
into a decade-long coma? Clinging
to the cowering brown beast, he said
Mother, I am stupid. Wild hair and a three-
piece tweed suit

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