Party Fiend

Charles Simic

Pitch dark, as I poke around at an address
I had scribbled earlier at a party
Using a girl’s bare back
To write the street and the number
While she kept tittering to herself.

In any case, here I am worrying
How many matches I dare waste
Reading the names over the mailboxes.
I thought of ringing a random bell,
Saw them all already gathered upstairs,
Standing close and listening.

The bells made no sound. No door opened.
No hostess came down in a party dress
Carrying a glass of wine for me.
I had let the taxi go and had no idea where I was.
I had a choice of hurrying off,
Or staying where I was a little longer

In the quiet moments before dawn,
With not a single lit window anywhere.
The graying sky barely visible.
One solitary bird call, and then another,
Softer one, in response, here where
There were no trees or bushes in sight.

Charles Simic was a Serbian-American poet and essayist. Born in Belgrade, he and his family immigrated to America when he was in high school. He won numerous prizes for his poetry, including the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, and served as the United States Poet Laureate.
Originally published:
April 1, 2003



Life in the Algorithm

It has reshaped culture—but how? Two new books reckon with our digital predicament.
Anna Shechtman

The Night Watch

I first sought sanctuary during the Troubles. I'm still looking for it.
Darran Anderson

Why I Write

The legendary cultural critic on finding a life’s work
Greil Marcus


Sign up for The Yale Review newsletter and keep up with news, events, and more.