Frank O’Hara, “Memorial Day 1950”

Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets

Frank O'Hara, on leave from the Navy with his parents and brother and sister, 1944
Frank O’Hara, home on leave from the Navy,
with his parents and brother and sister (1944)

Picasso made me tough and quick, and the world;
just as in a minute plane trees are knocked down
outside my window by a crew of creators.
Once he got his axe going everyone was upset
enough to fight for the last ditch and heap
of rubbish.
Through all that surgery I thought
I had a lot to say, and named several last things
Gertrude Stein hadn’t had time for; but then
the war was over, those things had survived
and even when you’re scared art is no dictionary.
Max Ernst told us that.
How many trees and frying pans
I loved and lost! Guernica hollered look out!
but we were all busy hoping our eyes were talking
to Paul Klee. My mother and father asked me and
I told them from my tight…

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