I went to a friend’s birthday a couple weeks ago. I had never been to her apartment, but was glad to see that I’m not the only one who scrawls lyrics or lines from literature on my walls after too much to drink. The friend’s bathroom was covered in “Steps” by Frank O’Hara and the lines dripped down the wall dramatically as if mascara from the eyes of a gal who’s been crying too hard.
I was given a book of Frank O’Hara’s poetry when I graduated from college. I read it, then put it away. It was not for lack of love, but lack of understanding. I think one has to have lived and loved in New York CIty to fully appreciate what he’s saying with his words.
Now, years later, I have lived and loved in New York City; and of all my loves, it is this city I have loved best. Frank O’Hara loved this city best, too.
I’m mad for you, my darling, and while I’ll never be able to compose an appropriate ode that perfectly conveys my love for you as O’Hara did with his poem “Steps,” I will agree with him when he says: “oh god it’s wonderful / to get out of bed / and drink too much coffee / and smoke too many cigarettes / and love you so much.”
On the other hand, “As Planned” is another work of O’Hara’s I’d like to send off to someone, because it’s true:
After the first glass of vodka you can accept just about anything of life even your own mysteriousness you think it is nice that a box of matches is purple and brown and is called La Petite and comes from Sweden for they are words that you know and that is all you know words not their feelings or what they mean and you write because you know them not because you understand them because you don't you are stupid and lazy and will never be great but you do what you know because what else is there?