Bonus Track: Frank O’Hara’s “Poem”

Frank O'Hara postcard [scan]
Frank O’Hara postcard (Photo credit: m kasahara)
Actually there are several poems by Frank O’Hara entitled “Poem.” This is just one of my favorites. Since I did a newer Frank reading last night, I thought I’d dig into the old cloth bag and see what I read in the past by him that I could share with you. The video was crudely made off my laptop two years ago when I was still a little new at this video making venture. The dislikes again were the result, I think, of a political or religious discussion elsewhere on YouTube. I really don’t recall. But a dear poetry reading YouTube friend of mine once said, a little controversy is good for you. In any case, having some a few stupid enemies may be as helpful as having a few good friends?

I should point out that while recording this two of my sons were laughing on either side of me just out of camera range.

Below is the text.

by Frank O’Hara
I don’t know as I get what D. H. Lawrence
is driving at
when he writes of lust springing from
the bowels
or do I
it could be the bowels of the earth
to lie flat on the earth in spring, summer
or winter is sexy
you feel it stirring deep down slowly up to you
and sometimes it gives you a little nudge in
the crotch
that’s very sexy
and when someone looks sort of raggedy and
dirty like Paulette Goddard
in Modern Times it’s exciting, it
isn’t usual or attractive
perhaps D.H.L. is thinking of the darkness
certainly the crotch is light
and I suppose
any part of us that can only be seen by others
is a dark part
I feel that about the small of my back, too
and the nape of my neck
they are dark
they are erotic zones as in the tropics
whereas Paris is straightforward and bright
about it all
a coal miner has kind of a sexy occupation
though I’m sure it’s painful down there
but so is lust
of light we can never have enough
but how would we find it
unless the darkness urged us on and into it
I am dark
except when now and then it all comes clear
and I can see myself
as others luckily sometimes see me
in a good light

5 Comments Add yours

  1. solingenpoet says:

    I think you read that really well despite the kids trying to distract you! It is a layered poem and it fits in well to the diamond analogy you used the other day. Most of us i would say what to hide the ‘dark’ parts and show people the light ones that we feel are more acceptable. D.H. Lawrence always had sex on his mind!!!


    1. sonofwalt says:

      Yes, he did, didn’t he? I think that’s what surprised the boys. They didn’t see some of those lined


  2. Ian Moone says:

    good very good. I should get you to read by seagull


    1. sonofwalt says:

      Thank you so much. Who is this Seagull of whom you speak? 🙂


    2. Ian Moone says:

      I have now recorded it form

      But you can hear that I am trying so hard not to laugh

      And I am impressed that even with distractions you still carried on.


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