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Frank O'Hara - 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
             they won't hate you
they won't criticize you they won't know
             they'll be in some glamorous
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
they will know where candy bars come
             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
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
except keeping them from life's darker joys
             it's unforgivable the latter
so don't blame me if you won't take this
             and the family breaks up
and your children grow old and blind in
   front of a TV set
movies you wouldn't let them see when
   they were young

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 1918 times | Comments and analysis of Ave Maria by Frank O'Hara Comments (1)

Ave Maria - Comments and Information

Poet: Frank O'Hara
Poem: Ave Maria
Poem of the Day: Jan 31 2015

Comment 1 of 1, added on March 13th, 2006 at 9:45 PM.

I learned all about sex as a young teenager in dark movie theatres.
This one hits it on the head, so to speak. The Varsity Theater, near the Marquette campus in Milwaukee, was a place that showed art films, and as a high school pseudo-intellectual back in the mid-60's, I learned a lot about my sexuality from generous college students.
I made some good friends from those encounters; my parents never knew.
I always knew I was gay, and was quite comfortable in those surroundings, even though I was a dumb high school kid.
I miss those days. Life was much simpler then...

Ramon from United States

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