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

Analysis, meaning and summary of Frank O'Hara's poem Ave Maria

1 Comment

  1. Ramon says:

    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…

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