Thursday, April 14, 2022

Having a Coke with You by Frank O'Hara, and more . . .

 is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne

or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them
I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse
it seems they were all cheated of some marvellous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it

- - - - -

And This!

Yesterday I posted Frank O'Hara's poem,  Having a Coke with You.  While i was searching for it on-line so i could share it at my Meanderings and Muses, i ran across this poem which is new to me, as is the poet. 
 I love it.

Having “Having a Coke with You” with You

You asked me if I knew the poem “Having a Coke with You”
I said I vaguely remembered it but didn’t really
so you recited it in its entirety. We were walking
from somewhere up by City Hall down toward South Street
and the whole time you were reciting it I was wondering
“Was that the last line of the poem?” after each line
and each time I thought that, I thought it even more
because as the poem got longer the fact that you were reciting it
from memory became incrementally harder to believe
until about two-thirds of the way through the poem
I stopped thinking about how long it was and just started listening
which I had been, but only a little, because of all that. Anyway
then I started listening to it completely, believing
the poem itself to be the sole reason you were reciting it
but as soon as you finished you started to talk about how
you used to think that that poem was just about how
liberatingly banal being in love with someone was
but then you said you’d started to think more recently
it was more about the idiocy of caring about art at all
when you could spend all that energy caring about someone
you loved instead, and you said you were wondering where
I stood on that question now that I had heard the poem
and I was as struck by the question as I was stunned
that you could so casually recite such a long good poem
and that you hadn't even recited it primarily to solicit
appreciation for your recitation so much as to ask
what I thought about what you had thought about it
then, versus how you thought about it now, and this was
when I knew I wanted to be with you forever.

Reprinted from Returning the Sword to the Stone (Fonograf Editions, 2021). Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.

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