Christopher Hong's Reviews > Lunch Poems

Lunch Poems by Frank O'Hara
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Jan 18, 08

bookshelves: verses, canon
Read in October, 2003

These poems kept me grounded as I wandered listlessly through the streets of Paris seeking meaning, but finding only my own dim, drunken reflection. Like a true flaneur, with poems in my pocket and a steady supply of cigarettes, coffee, and alcohol-- I conquered apathy by swallowing it whole.

Memoir of Sergei O by Frank O'Hara

My feet have never been comfortable
since I pulled them out of the Black Sea
and came to your foul country
what fatal day did I dry them off for
travel loathsome travel to a world
even older than the one I grew up in
what fatal day meanwhile back in France
they were stumbling towards the Bastille
and the Princess de Lamballe was
shuddering as shudderingly as I
with a lot less to lose I still hated
to move sedentary as a roach of Tiflis
never again to go swimming in the nude
publicly little did I know how
awfulness could reach such perfection abroad

I even thought I would see a Red Indian
all I saw was lipstick everything
covered with grass or shrouds pretty
shrouds shot with silver and plasma
even the chairs are upholstered to a
smothering perfection of inanity

and there are no chandeliers and there
are no gates to the parks so you don't
know wheter you're going in them or
coming out of them that's not relaxing
and so you can't really walk all you can
do is sit and drink coffee and brood
over the lost leaves and refreshing scum
of Georgia Georgia of my heritage
and dismay meanwhile back in my old
country they are renaming everything so
I can't even tell any more which ballet
company I am remembering with so much
pain and the same thing has started
here American Avenue Park Avenue South
Avenue of Chester Conklin Binnie Barnes
Boulevard Avenue of Toby Wing Barbara
Nichols Street where am I what is it

I can't even find a pond small enough
to drown in without being ostentatious
you are ruining your awful country and me
it is not new to do this it is terribly
democratic and ordinary and tired
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