Friday, June 3, 2022

Falling for the Poems of Frank O'Hara

This mantle of teaching I have been so slow in accepting. Jesus laughs, the mountains are suddenly grey, and tomorrow disappears in a maelstrom of desire. Be real!
 
Be teal? If you don’t understand the specific joy and logic of crossword puzzles then the spiritual path I am on will not make much sense to you. Waves roll over the sand, servants come and go.
 
Throughout the night it rains, and in my dreams women with rosaries ask difficult questions I am not sure I am meant or allowed to answer. Wanting to not cause the other pain, how necessary it is to reach that juncture, how challenging it is to live that way, how much you still need to learn about what the other actually is, and what hurt is, and how you are implicated. Very briefly at the age of four I wanted a dune buggy and equally briefly at the age of twenty remembered this and was saddened, falling as I was falling then for the poems of Frank O’Hara.
 
Sometimes I still miss cigarettes, even though I smoked for less than a year, the months in Europe and the hellscape after in Boston and Burlington, from which I barely made it out alive. Eggs scrambled in crushed tomatoes with feta, slow-cooked for an hour, served with slabs of bread: the breakfast Chrisoula’s grandmother made us, goats braying in the distance. In those days my head was full of many gods and I was delightfully verbal but frequently trespassed the boundaries of others in ways that caused deep pain.
 
Vows made of dying hemlocks, nesting cardinals and starlight. How does anybody find their way anywhere. I’m tired of men, I really am, and I get that I’m one of them, I really do.
 
I became especially skilled at navigating dense texts and also recognizing that how you say a thing matters exponentially more than what you say – or, rather, the “how” is the ‘what.” Clam bakes, staying up all night, skimming stones at dawn, the reek of low tide not touching our simple happiness. Forget me not indeed.
 
The twenty sentences is a form that includes sub-forms, such as this one, a trusted favorite. Admit it: you like high quality pens, you’re just like everybody else, up to and including your desire not to be.

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