Saturday, April 16

talking suns and frank o'hara


so this past week for my poetry class we had to write a personification poem - giving 
life/human characteristics to non-human things. i wrote a short poem titled " A Pact" 
in which i recount the (fictitious) pact i have with the sun. there is a lot of revision to be done
on it and i'll probably end up going in a different direction with it, but one thing that came out
of it was that one of my classmates noted that it was similar to a frank o'hara poem, one i'd
never heard of, titled "A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island". not the best
o'hara poem, i'd say, but i definitely connect with its message and was happy to have 
found it. 

below, my poem. followed by frank's


A Pact
       I have a pact with the sun: 
I’ll undress for him
  every morning
And he’ll stay     
hung in the blue frame sky
    like a peeled tangerine        shooting his warm skin
across the earth
Until the moon rises       with his pearl-dagger edges
and demands the frame to himself
So on cloudy days  
 you’ll know I’m to blame       
I have a lazy side
And if there’s rain
well 
 you can’t blame    a girl 
for getting changed in the closet
on the occasional   fat-day
A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island
Frank O'Hara

The Sun woke me this morning loud
and clear, saying "Hey! I've been 
trying to wake you up for fifteen 
minutes.  Don't be so rude, you are 
only the second poet I've ever chosen 
to speak to personally
                                   so why
aren't you more attentive? If I could 
burn you through the window I would
to wake you up.  I can't hang around 
here all day." 
                     "Sorry, Sun, I stayed 
up late last night talking to Hal."

"When I woke up Mayakovsky he was 
a lot more prompt" the Sun said
petulantly.  "Most people are up 
already waiting to see if I'm going 
to put in an appearance."
                                         I tried 
to apologize "I missed you yesterday."
"That's better" he said.  "I didn't 
know you'd come out."  "You may be wondering why I've come so close?"
"Yes" I said beginning to feel hot 
and wondering if maybe he wasn't
     burning me 
anyway.  
             "Frankly I wanted to tell you
I like your poetry.  I see a lot
on my rounds and you're okay.  You
     may
not be the greatest thing on earth, but
you're different.  Now, I've heard some 
say you're crazy, they being excessively
calm themselves to my mind, and other 
crazy poets think that you're a boring
reactionary.  Not me.
                                 Just keep on
like I do and pay no attention.  You'll 
find that some people always will 
     complain about the atmosphere, 
          either too hot 
or too cold too bright or too dark, days
too short or too long. 
                                If you don't appear
at all one day they think you're lazy 
or dead.  Just keep right on, I like it. 

And don't worry about your lineage
poetic or natural.  The Sun shines on
the jungle, you know, on the tundra
the sea, the ghetto.  Wherever you
     were 
I knew it and saw you moving.  I was 
     waiting 
for you to get to work.

                                   And now that you
are making your own days, so to 
     speak, 
even if no one reads you but me 
you won't be depressed.  Not 
everyone can look up, even at me.  It 
hurts their eyes."
           "Oh Sun, I'm so grateful to you!"

"Thanks and remember I'm watching.  
     It's 
easier for me to speak to you out
here.  I don't have to slide down
between buildings to get your ear.
I know you love Manhattan, but 
you ought to look up more often.
                                                    And
always embrace things, people earth
sky stars, as I do, freely and with 
the appropriate sense of space.  That
is your inclination, known in the 
     heavens
and you should follow it to hell, if
necessary, which I doubt.
                                         Maybe we'll 
speak again in Africa, of which I too
am specially fond.  Go back to sleep 
     now
Frank, and I may leave a tiny poem 
in that brain of yours as my farewell."

"Sun, don't go!"  I was awake 
at last.  "No, go I must, they're calling
me."  
       "Who are they?"
                              Rising he said "Some
day you'll know.  They're calling to you
too."  Darkly he rose, and then I slept.

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