To keep time and to stop time

Time saturates the work of Frank O’Hara. Within his energetic syntax and breezy rhythms, he transports you from place to place, whilst you lose yourself in the intimate pleasures of life; alongside him, you marvel at the orange tulips, laugh at the Impressionists and feel the warmth of the New York sunlight.
His words whisk you away before you’ve had the time to linger on his aesthetically sensual (sensually aesthetic) experiences, before you can decide if they were passion or parody. He simultaneously charges forward whilst keeping a very specific moment of time suspended forever.

During this time, I find myself turning towards his poetical art as a source of sentimental comfort. Although I cannot pretend as though my life experience in any way emulates his, his work provided a framework for my own practice. The understanding that words are not simply limited to the two-dimensional realm of paper and could take on their own physicality, their own form, and become art themselves inspired me greatly.

Limited in lockdown, I return to his poems and the memories they conjure – memories that are not mine, but almost feel as though they could be. I’m jealous of his cheeseburger at ‘Juliet’s Corner’, I remember being stuck in traffic in a taxicab, I miss having a coke with you.

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

From Frank O’Hara’s Having a Coke with you (1971)

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