Abstract · American Culture · American Literature · Anthology · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Poetry · The New York School

Frank O’Hara

Jane Awake

The opals hiding your lids
as you sleep, as you ride ponies
mysteriously, spring to bloom
like the blue flowers of autumn

each nine o’clock. And curls
tumble languorously towards
the yawning rubber band, tan,
your hand pressing all that

riotous black sleep into
the quiet form of daylight
and its sunny disregard for
the luminous volutions, oh!

and the budding waltzes
we swoop through in nights.
Before dawn you roar with
your eyes shut, unsmiling,

your volcanic flesh hides
everything from the watchman,
and the tendrils of dreams
strangle policemen running by

too slowly to escape you,
the racing vertiginous waves
of your murmuring need. But
he is day’s guardian saint

that policeman, and leaning
from your open window you ask
him what to dress to wear and
to comb your hair modestly,

for that is now your mode.
Only by chance tripping on stairs
do you repeat the dance, and
then, in the perfect variety of

subdued, impeccably disguised,
white black pink blue saffron
and golden ambiance, do we find
the nightly savage, in a trance.

Frank O’Hara, The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara. (University of California Press March 31, 1995)

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