SERENADE Starlings are singinglike glass breakingand falling into a rathervulgar plate. Somewherea nightingale waits for eachof us, crying its heartout. Oh I don’t know, say,say it’s your fingernailsscratching down my neckwith a fragile roar. No,it’s starlings singing,simply starlings singing.And all around us piecesof a great sad hero, yes,an eagle had him by the… Continue reading Frank O’Hara
Poem Suppose that grey tree, so nudeand desperate, began to waltz slowly in time to something weare deaf to in the thickening snow. Would it be merely trying to getwarm and true, as it seems onedoes while dancing, or would this bean invitation from the inanimateworld our bones, trying not to… Continue reading Frank O’Hara
Instant coffee with slightly sour creamin it, and a phone call to the beyondwhich doesn’t seem to be coming any nearer.“Ah daddy, I wanna stay drunk many days”on the poetry of a new friendmy life held precariously in the seeinghands of others, their and my impossibilities.Is this love, now that the first lovehas finally died,… Continue reading Frank O’Hara
I go on loving you like water butthere is a terrible breath in the way all of this — John Ashbery, from “The Tennis Court Oath,” The Tennis Court Oath: A Book of Poems. (Wesleyan; 35th edition April 1, 2011) Originally published 1962.
To You What is more beautiful than nightand someone in your armsthat’s what we love about artit seems to prefer us and stays if the moon or a gasping candlesheds a little light or even darkyou become a landscape in a landscapewith rocks and craggy mountains and valleys full of sweaty fernsbreathing and lifting into… Continue reading Frank O’Hara
There is that sound like the windForgetting in the branches that means somethingNobody can translate. And there is the sobering ‘later on,’When you consider what a thing meant, and put it down. — John Ashbery, from “Summer,” Selected Poems (Viking Penguin, 1985)
Ode To Tanaquil LeClercq smiling through my own memories of painful excitement your wide eyesstare and narrow like a lost forest of childhood stolen from gypsiestwo eyes that are the sunset of two knees two wrists two mindsand the extended philosophical column, when they conducted the dialogues in distant Athens, rests on your two ribbon-wrapped… Continue reading Frank O’Hara
Meditations in an Emergency Am I to become profligate as if I were a blonde? Or religious as if I were French? Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous (and how the same names keep recurring on that interminable list!), but one of these days there’ll be nothing… Continue reading Frank O’Hara
Even trees understand me! Good heavens, I lie under them, too, don’t I? I’m just like a pile of leaves. — Frank O’Hara, from “Meditations in an Emergency,” Meditations in an Emergency. (Grove Press; Reissue edition April 1, 1996) Originally published 1957.
I trust the sanity of my vessel; and if it sinks, it may well be in answer to the reasoning of the eternal voices,the waves which have kept me from reaching you. — Frank O’Hara, from “To the Harbormaster,” The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara. (University of California Press March 31, 1995)