Saturday, May 21, 2011

Why I Am Not Frank O'Hara

Today I'm feeling very Frank O'Hara in my new chartreuse shirt.
Of course, I lack his rakish widow's peak and almost Roman profile.
I lack his Manhattan address and his avant-garde coterie.
I will never pose for Larry Rivers or Alice Neel, never
(much as I'd like to) own a Fairfield Porter or Jane Freilicher.

I will never saunter into a typewriter shop on my lunch break
and tap out a new poem to accompany that evening's cocktails.
I lack a certain savoir-faire, a certain je ne sais quoi.
I'm a straight Midwesterner, a secondary school teacher
with two sons in tow, but my step is jaunty nonetheless.

I've got the summer off, and today we're going on vacation!
I've packed my fly rod and my Du Fu. Nothing
can bring me down, not even standing in shuffling
line after shuffling line for ticketing, baggage check-in,
and security. Don't they get tired? They look tired.

For nearly eight years they've been on orange alert!
In front of these uniformed strangers I take off my belt
and shoes, offer up my cellphone, my house and car keys,
then slip through their metal detectors undetected.
My only identifying traits: a jaunty step and a chartreuse shirt.

—Dallas Crow

"Why I Am Not Frank O'Hara" originally appeared in the 2010 issue of Off Channel.


Clarence said...

I am not Frank O'Hara because... well, maybe because I don't get poetry that I can't dance to.

And maybe because I have a son in tow for whom I cringe when I have to watch him go through airport security.

Or because there are no more typewriters--like the one with which I wrote letters to friends during my lumber yard job lunch hour out of the back of my 1977, yellow Volvo station wagon.

Or is it just because I am straight?

Corvus said...

Ah, Clarence, why don't I have a "like" button on here?

Clarence said...

Because, as Morrissey sang, "I know I'm unlovable/You don't have to tell me..."