Category Archives: Frank O’ Hara

Better Ye Late Than Never

Okay…so “posting last night” means “I totally didn’t post last night”. My English, it is not so good.


I gave myself a Mission last week, and I’m fulfilling it here, today, rightnow:

Old Timey Sparrow


My co-worker Lisa and I spend our days–some of our days; we also work–creating imaginary characters, and writing them songs, and singing the songs, and then laughing a-much. [One such character is named “Edie Pea”. Her song begins: “Edie Pea, Edie Pea–she’s a pea-sized rodeo rider!” NOTE: NO ONE THINKS THIS IS FUNNY BUT US.] Our newest character is a sparrow. I’m not going into exhaustive detail about the Sparrow, though Lisa and I have built an entire universe of exhaustive detail about the Sparrow. The Sparrow has a voice of his own; a history; a life well-lived.

Somewhere along the line, in the mists of sparrow-time, Lisa decided that the Sparrow was–quote–an old timey sparrow. We imagined him as an old-fashioned capitalist type of bird, with a top hat and a monocle, mistreating his workers.

LISA: Let’s Google “old timey sparrow”!


LISA: Put it in quotes!
GOOGLE: Hahahahahahahahahaha!

Says I: If Google–Google!–cannot produce a single picture of a sparrow in a top hat, one single old timey sparrow, then I need to get cracking.

A sparrow, a top hat, a pair-of-scissors-and-a-glue-stick later:

Old Timey Sparrow

Mission accomplished.


Mother’s Day: A Photo Essay



We did OTHER stuff, too, you know.


I found another lilac bush to replace my old dear one, thank God; I pass it on my walk to work. The scent drills you from three houses down, if by “drills you” one means “wafts you to the Heavenly Gates”.

ST. PETER: Mmmmmmmmmmm!

It’s a very unassuming little lilac bush, too. But it smells like true, true love, whatever that smells like, and it probably smells really good.

I have posted this poem before.


To The Harbormaster

I wanted to be sure to reach you;
though my ship was on the way it got caught
in some moorings. I am always tying up
and then deciding to depart. In storms and
at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide
around my fathomless arms, I am unable
to understand the forms of my vanity
or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder
in my hand and the sun sinking. To
you I offer my hull and the tattered cordage
of my will. The terrible channels where
the wind drives me against the brown lips
of the reeds are not all behind me. Yet
I trust the sanity of my vessel; and
if it sinks, it may well be in answer
to the reasoning of the eternal voices,
the waves which have kept me from reaching you.

Frank O’ Hara

Leave a comment

Filed under Frank O' Hara, Poetry

The Recovery

I had debated writing this blog about my recovery from surgery, even in part–but then I realized that I have nothing else to write about, at the moment; nothing doing. You’ll have heard the expression “hanging fire”? [I did see a terrifically cool moth with my friend Katie last weekend, but I don’t think you want to hear about it; Katie didn’t, and she was THERE.] This week’s blog will not, for instance, detail my adventures while scaling Russia’s Mount Elbrus [“And then I dropped my flashlight down a crevasse–Vladimir and I sure were scrambling!”] This blog will not include any banter I have been lucky enough to overhear on public transportation. It will not discuss the operation of heavy machinery, which I am not allowed to do right now! Ha ha! A little “prescription medication” humor for you, gentle readers.

Even of surgery, and the recovery thereafter, there is not too much that I will say. One does what one has to do. I have assembled the following list of thoughts, and we will leave it there, won’t we?

A Few Things I Could Say About All Of This

1. Northwestern Prentiss Women’s Hospital [recently re-modeled] is really looking spiffy these days
            a. Soft, wasabi green walls
            b. Tastefully decorated “room curtains” [forgive me if my
                “medical jargon” starts outpacing you]
            c. Pictures of flowers, ’cause that’s what the ladies like! 

2. It is incredibly comforting to have your both your ma and pa there for life moments such as these, even when you sometimes have to say, “Give us a moment, will you, pa?” and unceremoniously kick him out of the room, due to medical looleeloo

3. If doctors have drawn a smiley face on your abdomen for surgical purposes with a purple marker, and your small nieces and nephews catch but one glimpse of this smiley face, then “Show us the smiley face!” they will chorus, many times, second only to “Show us your belly button!”, to which sight they will respond, wide-eyed: “Boo-boo”, to which you will respond, “You ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie.” 

4. No, I’m kidding–I wouldn’t say that to them.

5. Apparently, I have “funny valves” [actual term used by actual medical professionals] in my veins. This phrase has been placed high atop my Most Searingly True Life Metaphors of All Time List. Funny valves? Seriously, I’ve cracked a few codes with this piece of information in the past week.

6. If you are reading “Little Dorrit”, by Charles Dickens, you will not be able to read it in the days immediately following your procedure, for Dickens and recovery go together like salt and Lot’s wife. One moment you are lying on the couch, awake-ish and reading; one sentence later [“Deuce a bit!” said Pancks. “What do you think it’s worth?”] you are dead to the world and dreaming, probably that one dream, the one with the wheelbarrow.

7. I have really, really, really, really, really really wonderful friends, who burst my heart with their wonderfulness.

8. Get well cards often have glitter.

9. I like to sleep.


I have not been home for such an extended period of time in quite a while. It’s very nice; as very nice as home can be, under the circumstances. My youngest brother and sister are home from college for the summer, and another of my brothers is about as well, and there have been many ice cream sandwiches, and much watching of Sports Center. When I watch Sports Center I know I am home; I feel the latent sports-lover in my heart, stretching itself like a boomslang snake on a warm rock. I say things like “Great catch” while watching sports highlights, and I mean it. It is in my blood: I cannot help it. My brother-in-law asked one of my brothers last night about the possibility of pulling together a fantasy football league, and who might be interested.

ME: Oooo, I want to do it!
ME: What if I asked my friend Adam to make all my picks for me?
MY BROTHER-IN-LAW: [pause.] I’d have to talk to him.

I will report back if, indeed, I am allowed to join a fantasy football league. Hey! Hey. Don’t laugh at me. 


On Saturday I was going through pictures my mother has saved on her computer. There are many, many pictures; pictures of birthday parties, of weddings, of babies. I decided that it would be only too proper to share some of these pictures with you. They are a Taste of Home; it’s where I’m at right now, where I currently [for at least another week] live and move and have my being, and so I share them, since pictures are worth o-many-thousands of words.

My youngest sister attends Purdue University [Go, Boilermakers!] and sings with their prestigious women’s singing group, the Purduettes [this is their real name]. Back row, third from the right: that’s our little pride and joy. I want you to look at the faces of these young women. Now put that look on your OWN FACE and GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. “Hello, world!” I want you to say [I will say it, too–don’t worry]. “Here I am! It’s me, _________! I bet you thought I forgot about you!” And then I want you live your life like God intended.


This is a picture from my cousin’s wedding last fall. My nieces are touching my brother’s head with roses. What can I say of such a picture? The words “darling”, “heart attack”, and “so darling I almost had a heart attack and died” suffice for me. 


This is a picture of one of my younger brothers, Matt–who is in the Navy, and the announcer for the Navy Leap Frog team–shaking hands with the former President Bush at this year’s season opener between the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals.

I just wanted an excuse to use this picture.


My father and my youngest nephew, Dominic. Dominic is the roly-polliest, loving-est, drooliest sweetest dearest baby boy in all the world!

Also, he bench presses about 250.



MY BROTHER ANDREW: [eating Chinese food] I just got a bite of beef, chicken, and noodle all in one.


The following poem is a poem I have posted elsewhere, already, in other times. But I love it so very much that I’m posting it again today, here, right now.

Indulge me, mightn’t you?

Having a Coke With You

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them
                                                                                           I look

at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse
                it seems they were all cheated of some marvellous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it
Frank O’Hara


Filed under Brothers and Sisters, Frank O' Hara, My Parents, Nieces and Nephews, Poetry