Now I am quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again

Here are three facts for you about Frank O’Hara (1926-1966):

1) He was part of the New York School of poetry along with John Ashberry, Kenneth Koch, etc.  2) While studying music at Harvard, he was roommates with Edward Gorey. 3) He used to write poems in Times Square during his lunch hour, hence his well-known collection Lunch Poems.

Oh, and a fourth: his poetry is provocative and smart. Check him out.

Mayakovsky-Frank O’Hara

My heart’s aflutter!
I am standing in the bath tub
crying. Mother, mother
who am I? If he
will just come back once
and kiss me on the fae
his coarse hair brush
my temple, it’s throbbing!

then I can put on my clothes
I guess, and walk the streets.

I love you, I love you,
but I’m turning to my verses
and my heart is closing

like a fist.
Words! be
sick as I am sick, swoon,
roll back your eyes, a pool,
and I’ll stare down
at my wounded beauty
which at best is only a talent
for poetry.

Cannot please, cannot charm or win
what a poet!
and the clear water is thick

with bloody blows on its head
I embraced a cloud,
but when I soared
it rained.

That’s funny! there’s blood on my chest
oh yes, I’ve been carrying bricks
what a funny place to rupture!
and now it is raining on the ailanthus
as I step out onto the window ledge
the tracks below me are smoky and
glistening with a passion for running
I leap into the leaves, green like the sea

Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.

The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funy
not just darker, not just grey.

It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.

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One thought on “Now I am quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again

  1. I was looking for the full text of this poem after hearing a snippet of it on Mad Men. I’m glad Google lead me here; your blog is fantastic and is definitely going in the poetry folder of my RSS reader. Thank you for sharing your love of poetry.

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