Frank Boyer

The Secret
Translated from the Spanish of the Bolivian Poet, Francisco de Campo, 1938

I wrote and addressed
a letter to my uncle.

I told him:
"The newspapers
are spreading the news rapidly."

I told him:
"The great and secret influence you exert
among the politicians
and the other criminals,
together with your money--
not to mention your sincere enthusiasm--
all these convince many of our people."

"You know," I said "I'm following
your advice."

To my uncle I wrote this letter.

I sent it to him with the leg
of a black widow spider
embalmed in a drop
of candle wax,
crushed flat between my thumb
and the first finger of my left hand,
then hidden
in an inside corner
of an innocent envelope.

Street Blues

Outside my window
passing trains
play heart-ache harp.
A cold wind strums
the telephone lines,
fretting fingers
cross to cross.
Down the street
the traffic sings
street blues sweet blues.

In my attic room
I finally feel at home.

It's time for moving on.

Black on Grey, 1970
To Mark Rothko, written on first seeing his last paintings.

your world of winter:
between a field of night
and one of lead,
a thin white line-
the last tightrope, the cardiograph
of a stone.

Oh, Mark,
how you must have longed
for your once-bright, vibrant land.

I now know why
you took your path of steep return,
to paint your last warm work
with your own blood.

About the Author

Frank Boyer started writing with the goofy idea of “becoming a writer” when he was 20 years old. The idea gave some sort of focus to his ongoing mania, as he bounced here and there, scattering himself across the landscape. He has been writing ever since, one way or another.

Landing in New York City in the late 1970’s to pursue an interest in dance and performance, he stuck around for 15 years that spanned the 1980’s. He participated in the performance art scene of the Lower East Side, collaborating with the normal bunch of lunatics, performing at PS122, LaMama, and other funky-chic venues. Occasionally he ventured Uptown of 14th Street, usually to go to an art museum or catch a poetry reading, or to work at one of the legion of ludicrous jobs he took to support his art habit.

In the late 1980’s, when he was an artist in residence at Tompkins Square Library, he began to build installations using found objects and “talismans” from his past. He still occasionally creates large-scale works with performance and installation elements. He teaches visual and performing arts-related subjects at SUNY-New Paltz and SUNY-Ulster. He has recently published a chapbook, Jumping Out of My Skin, and is working on a second one, which should be out in time for your holiday gift-giving.

(click here to close this window)