Showing posts with label Frank O'Hara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frank O'Hara. Show all posts

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Card to Grace Hartigan


Markyankus


marc yankus



There's no holly, but there is
the glass and granite towers
and the white stone lions
and the pale violet clouds. And
the great tree of balls in
Rockefeller Plaza is public.

Christmas is green and general
like all great works of the
imagination, swelling from minute
private sentiments in the desert,
a wreath around our intimacy
like children's voices in a park.

For red there is our blood
which, like your smile, must be
protected from spilling into
generality by secret meanings,
the lipstick of life hidden
in a handbag against violations.

Christmas is the time of cold air
and loud parties and big expense,
but in our hearts flames flicker
answeringly, as on old-fashioned
trees. I would rather the house
burn down than our flames go out.
Frank O'Hara

Friday, January 23, 2009

THE DAY LADY DIED


It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 9:59 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don't know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an Ugly New World Writing to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn't even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the Golden Griffin I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan's new play or Le Balcon or Les Negres
of Genet, but I don't, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the Park Lane
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a New York Post with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 Spot
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing


:from The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara, edited by Donald Allen (Berkeley: U of California P, 1995)

:flickr