To celebrate Auden's birthday, we're sharing a poem by Erik La Prada, "Auden Lived Upstairs" from La Prade's new book, Movie Logic, release by Poets Wear Prada, on February 7, 2013.
Auden Lived Upstairs
by Erik La Prade
I’m at Passport Restaurant,
Sitting at an outdoor table while
Eating a plate of couscous
And drinking an imported beer.
I’m facing 77 Saint Mark’s
Place. A tourist walks up
The stoop to photograph Auden’s
Memorial plaque, but it has been removed.
The only thing for him to look at is
A white outline that stains the red bricks;
He photographs the wall as his wife stands
On the bottom step shouting for him to come down,
Afraid he’ll be arrested,
When an anonymous voice from the hallway
Calls out, “Licitum est.”
Auden lived at 77 St. Marks Place from 1953 to 1972. The site of his tenement apartment is now an Italian restaurant, La Palapa.