Friday, March 29, 2013

Frank O'Hara

I took a creative writing course when I was in college. For the second installment of the course, we spent a long time studying poetry. I found this piece I wrote hidden in old files as I was cleaning out my lap top. I read it a few times and really enjoyed it. I thought I would share.

It seems that I wrote this poem as a cover of a Frank O'Hara poem. Frank O'Hara was an American poet who died in the 1960's. He was a great writer.

Here is the original text:

Why I am not a Painter 
Frank O'Hara

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is 
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a 
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

Here is my cover of a Frank O'Hara poem.

Why I am not a Painter.

Paint a poet.
Why? I think I would.
But I am not a painter.
Mike Goldberg, for instance,
Started a drop painting.
“Sit down and have a drink,” says he.
I drink. I look.
“You have sardines up in it.”
“Something needed it there.”
I go by the days.
I go buy the painting.
“Where’s the finished sardines?”
That’s just all left.
Mike says, “Too much letters.”

I am thinking of one day.
I write a color orange line.
Pretty soon it is about orange.
Whole lines, not pages.
There should be another page.
Not so much orange.
How terrible words of orange are.
Days go by, even life.
I am a real poem.
I haven’t finished.
I call twelve poems “Orange.”
And oranges one day in a gallery.
I see sardines called painting.

Interesting, eh? It seems like the assignment was to take out words or rearrange them. I think I may even like my version better!

Do you write poetry?

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