Monday, April 8, 2013

NPM: Homosexuality

Norman Bluhm & Frank O’Hara
I was asked to come up with a list of poets whose books are either missing from the library shelves or falling apart on them, and when I began thinking about 20th century poets who are underrepresented in our collection, I thought of -- of. Oh god. What's his name again?

Completely blanked out. Had to consult an anthology to remember it was Frank O'Hara I was thinking of. And, after rereading some of his work, it seems like a marvelous idea to share a poem of his today (and to better acquaint myself, in the meantime, with more than just his hit singles).

Frank O'Hara (1926-1966)

So we are taking off our masks, are we, and keeping
our mouths shut? as if we'd been pierced by a glance!

The song of an old cow is not more full of judgment
than the vapors which escape one's soul when one is sick;

so I pull the shadows around me like a puff
and crinkle my eyes as if at the most exquisite moment

of a very long opera, and then we are off!
without reproach and without hope that our delicate feet

will touch the earth again, let alone "very soon."
It is the law of my own voice I shall investigate.

I start like ice, my finger to my ear, my ear
to my heart, that proud cur at the garbage can

in the rain. It's wonderful to admire oneself
with complete candor, tallying up the merits of each

of the latrines. 14th Street is drunken and credulous,
53rd tries to tremble but is too at rest. The good

love a park and the inept a railway station,
and there are the divine ones who drag themselves up

and down the lengthening shadow of an Abyssinian head
in the dust, trailing their long elegant heels of hot air

crying to confuse the brave "It's a summer day,
and I want to be wanted more than anything else in the world."

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