Frank O’Hara, I Hear You

 
 
 
Subway Construction in DC
 
 
 

blooming in my head this morning while the jackhammers

kick the asphalt six feet below the windows next to my bed.
 

Construction is not symphonic when it keeps the rhythm

of an old headache blistering under your left ear, like this—
 

Why is noise so indiscriminate in its audience? Your poems look

like noise, but they sing quieter than I do, though. In the end, each line
 

is you, whispering the names you love in a plainsong litany.

I think of you, writing, and I see a slip of notepaper unfolded
 

in your clean hand; you, grit-smiling in a bleached undershirt;

you, keening at your typewriter the day Lady Day died.
 

Your poems haunt me, Frank O’Hara. They do!

Your sweet experiments in tabloid tenderness; the way you pause
 

between stanzas to lean back and talk to your friends,

all those poets, all those painters— we know who they are now.
 

But that’s you, isn’t it? You knew how to croon over a name’s

own story, while I sit here, wearing old bed sheets at my desk,
 

fingers slapping the keyboard, kvetching about jackhammers,

carping at the road dust that will coat my words when this poem
 

is over.

 
 
 

This poem is a response to Frank O’Hara’s Personal Poem.

 
 
 

About Courtenay Bluebird (Bluebird Blvd.)

Courtenay Bluebird is the creator of Bluebird Blvd. and The Bluebird B-Side. She is a published writer, career journalist, and professional photographer who likes books and sweets. She laughs loudly and sincerely both in public and in private.
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One Comment

  1. Hello lovely lady. There is an aspect of O’Hara to your own writing. No, your style is distinctly and wonderfully your own, but many things you mention in your poem are reflective of his mentality. Similar perhaps to your approach on life? As always love your written word! :) xx

Hey there, cupcake! How are ya?

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