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Tag Archives: Steve Kowit

Poem for Trying Times

Photos of iconic places like the Piazza San Marco and Times Square empty – the way we’ve never seen them – are haunting.  What a difference a month makes.  It’s hard to grasp how strange this spring is and will be: no Easter celebrations, baseball, Kentucky Derby, Wimbledon. One comforting and positive side of this plague is a flowering of online music, poetry, museum tours and art offered to everyone for free.  April, National Poetry Month, will be very different, but poets will always keep writing and sharing their work in new ways.  Here’s a poem that speaks to the uncertainty of life and how quickly things can change.  To anyone out there reading this blog, stay home, stay safe and let your creative voice be heard.

NOTICE                          by Steve Kowit

This evening, the sturdy Levi’s

I wore every day for over a year

& which seemed to the end

in perfect condition,

suddenly tore.

How or why I don’t know,

but there it was: a big rip at the crotch.

A month ago my friend Nick

walked off a racquetball court,


got into his street clothes,

& halfway home collapsed & died.

Take heed, you who read this,

& drop to your knees now & again

like the poet Christopher Smart,

& kiss the earth & be joyful,

& make much of your time,

& be kindly to everyone,

even to those who do not deserve it.

For although you may not believe

it will happen,

you too will one day be gone.

I, whose Levi’s ripped at the crotch

for no reason,

assure you that such is the case.

Pass it on.


empty piazza san marco