Saturday, January 4, 2014

Let's do O'Hara's deal

Very often nowadays (I think),
we greet each other as hurdles
once again to endure in a path
to higher existence, in virtu-
al refuge known as plans. Nat-
urally, I couldn't conceive of
such a fundamental deformation,
if I were not vulnerable to it.

I observed that not even youth 
and income can defeat the feeb-
leness inherent in common calcu-
lations; and possibly our contem-
porary horror, "social media,"
are augury, in ditziest vacuity,
of this slipstream into anomie.

Knowing better is not being bet-
ter; it's often being worse. But
knowing something utterly is not
a feeble anchorage, for passing
it on neutrally, in closeness to
one's past and present. The scan-
dal of our genius is on-axis to
the honest gaze.

What is so unarguably to be 
known, if not that there is
poetry to taste in standing
still? Don't take mine, one
would say. Take my hearing,
for your extravagantest ex-


       the only truth is face to face, the poem whose
          words become your mouth
       and dying in black and white we fight for what we
          love, not are 

Frank O'Hara
Ode: Salute to the French
  Negro Poets
Donald Allen, editor
The Collected Poems of 
  Frank O'Hara
op. cit.

Edward Mendelson
Review of Selected Poems
  of Frank O'Hara
  Mark Ford, editor
  Knopf, 2008
The New York Review
  of Books
September 25, 2008©

John Latta
Isola di Rifiuti
October 23, 2012©


  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome. I'm happy to say, it's a pleasure to consider O'Hara; but nowadays, in our exotic region of the English-speaking world, we are beset by a very great horror of locution at such times, and I hope you can close your Norwegian ports to it. Now, when we say, "Thank you," we're dreadfully likely to be told, "Not a problem." The response completely diminishes the act as well as its appreciation; but less and less do we expect that spark of penetration of another's fog that manifests itself in considered response. I think this was on O'Hara's mind.