Oh Frank O’Hara we love you

For the parody prompt I didn’t want to do anything that would be mean or scathing so I chose a poet that I like and it was fun to write. Frank O’Hara has a very recognizable style and one that’s pretty easy to imitate. If you like O’Hara (some do, some don’t), the way he worked was interesting, his way of just spilling poems in an endearing and endless personal and social commentary. He would write poems on bits of paper, and napkins and when he died, and the Collected Poems was compiled and published, loads of people came out of the woodwork with more poems that he had written and given to them, so another (still quiet sizeable) volume was published. What he talked about was exciting, and the people he wrote about in his poems were exciting, and above all his voice was exciting, (audio of him reading ‘Lana Turner has collapsed!’). But it’s hard to imagine this style working for anyone else, and working now, because who is living that life? I know I’m not – ‘I was trotting along in Bolton town centre, when suddenly it stopped raining, and everyone looked at the sky in disbelief’ – it just doesn’t work, but maybe that’s why O’Hara is such a pleasurable read for us in the 21st century, because nobody lives that way anymore. Of course, when someone dies prematurely the myth-making machine can be very powerful. Maybe if he existed in our time he wouldn’t write so many poems, he’d just be a really prolific facebook poster. Here’s my ‘Poem’:

Poem

I was trotting along and suddenly
I felt an idea it hit me on the head
hard like one of John’s or Kenneth’s
at least I thought it was an idea
but I didn’t have a title
so I called it ‘Poem’
but I didn’t have a pen
so I tapped my jacket
but it was Summer
and I wasn’t wearing a jacket
so I picked up a rock
and wrote on the sidewalk
I was on my knees and one hand was a star
like Lana on Hollywood Boulevard
then another idea hit me and I thought
it’s not over until the completed
works and even then it’s not over
because there’ll be another
(some might say)
subsidiary volume
and I was in such a hurry to get
to my next poem I jumped up
tumbled over the rock
and suddenly I heard two voices
I think it was James and Barbara
and they were saying
oh Frank O’Hara we love you get up

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