Authors are often told to write about what they know, so it helps to have led an interesting life. Denver poet Robert Cooperman has. His last collection of poems was about his adventures driving a taxicab in New York City. His new one, "City Hall Frame Factory," is about the millinery business his family owned in New York.
Read the first poem from the new collection:
Jackie Kennedy’s Hats
Every time she and her dashing husband
appeared outdoors on TV,
JFK with his hair tousled by the wind;
Jackie in an elegant chapeau,
my father would bless her unsolicited
endorsement for the millinery trade in general,
his hat frame factory in particular.
But then her terrible betrayal:
on the Evening News, her dark locks
blew free, no hat to hold them in place,
no inspiration for other women
to follow her fashionable example.
“There goes the business,” Dad sighed.
Over the next few weeks, there she was
again and again, chapeau-less, when once
she’d stood so stylish, yet just the right
amount of reserve, in a pillbox or summer hat.
The demise wasn’t quick; no customers
called the next morning, shouting at Dad
to cancel their orders; or him reading
in the papers about fancy hat shop owners
jumping from high windows, as stock brokers
had done on Black Tuesday in 1929.
That might’ve been more merciful,
but the business limped on
like a wounded hare pursued by a fox.
It took a few years for the collapse:
some seasons better than others.
Through it all, Dad couldn’t help
but love Kennedy’s beautiful wife,
then widow, but never trusted her again.
Ryan Warner is the senior host and editor of Colorado Public Radio's daily interview program "Colorado Matters." He regularly reports on the most important issues facing Colorado - from the state capitol, which includes a monthly interview with the Governor of Colorado - to topics concerning health, education, business, energy and the environment and arts and culture.
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