"Oda Negra" by Frank Lima

In late 2001, Frank Lima (NYC, 1939) wrote a series of poems indirectly addressing the terrorist attacks against New York City. Five of those poems were published in issue #5 of Ugly Duckling Presse's magazine 6x6. His poems in that issue lamented the terrorist attacks but they did it in a way that was neither empty or trite, much less simplistically patriotic. The poem that opens that issue, "Germelshausen," begins:

Our goal is the victory of midnight and its autobiography of touch.
These awaited techniques are not metaphysical at all, nevertheless they are
So convincing, we live for imagination to occur whenever possible in order
To sustain some semblance of self-worth during existence,
Crawling from one place to another, such as space travelers will to explore
The stars. Frank O'Hara said writing poetry was like love,

"You find a subject and you dress it up with clothing...
How you pull it off is another matter if you are broke." [...]

A few years earlier, in 1998, Frank sent me a new poem of his called "Oda Negra" for a magazine I was helping to edit at the time in Providence. He sent it in the spirit of generousness that permeates not only his work but also how he lives his life. The magazine didn't continue after its premier issue (for financial reasons), so Frank's great autobiographical text was never published. But I carried that poem around with me in my files, from Providence to Boston and now here to Durham, hoping it would eventually be released.

"Oda Negra" has finally been published. You can read it in the new issue of Jesse Crocket's fantastic magazine, listenlight.

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