“oh god it’s wonderful
to get out of bed
and drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much”
If you’re anything like me, sometimes it takes more than a cold brew to get the day going. There is something easy about poetry in the morning, just as the words slip through your fingers. Sometimes we don’t make sense of it, and that only lets us appreciate it more. Instead of scrolling through Instagram when you reach for your phone, try skimming through a few poems to inspire the day. And no better way to find mix up the mundane than Frank O’ Hara, himself, the renowned leader of the “New School of Poets”, who offers such a lyrical approach to life’s everyday conundrums.
Here are a few snippets to scroll through:
1. Ave Maria
Mothers of America
let your kids go to the movies!
get them out of the house so they won’t know what you’re up to
it’s true that fresh air is good for the body
but what about the soul
that grows in darkness, embossed by silvery images
and when you grow old as grow old you must
they won’t hate you
Elevate the soul, rather than let it rest between crinkled sheets and the smell of detergents. The soul needs Vitamin D too, you know.
2. Sleeping on the Wing
The eyes roll asleep as if turned by the wind
and the lids flutter open slightly like a wing.
The world is an iceberg, so much is invisible!
and was and is, and yet the form, it may be sleeping
Don’t let the day go Titanic on you.
I tell you
how I hate disease, it’s like worrying
that comes true
and it simply must not be able to happen
in a world where you are possible
nothing can go wrong for us, tell me
Live life like nothing can go wrong. And when it does, well, try not to worry too much…
4. For Grace, After a Party
You do not always know what I am feeling.
Last night in the warm spring air while I was
blazing my tirade against someone who doesn’t
me, it was love for you that set me
and isn’t it odd? for in rooms full of
strangers my most tender feelings
bear the fruit of screaming.
There is perhaps nothing more true than the first line of this poem. Or, perhaps, nothing more false…
5. Jane Awake
The opals hiding your lids
as you sleep, as you ride ponies
mysteriously, spring to bloom
like the blue flowers of autumn
each nine o’clock
Look alive gorgeous, Spring is here and it’s not waiting any longer.
6. Yesterday down at the Canal
You say that everything is very simple and interesting
it makes me feel very wistful, like reading a great Russian novel does
i am terribly bored
sometimes it is like seeing a bad movie
other days, more often, it’s like having an acute disease of the kidney
god knows it has nothing to do with the heart
nothing to do with people more interesting than myself
“Life, my friends, is boring.” Boredom is thought to be a sign of intelligence with the monotony of our everyday world. Congratulations on never settling.
7. As Planned
After the first glass of vodka
you can accept just about anything
of life even your own mysteriousness
you think it is nice that a box
of matches is purple and brown and is called
La Petite and comes from Sweden
for they are words that you know and that
is all you know words not their feelings
or what they mean and you write because
you know them not because you understand them
because you don’t you are stupid and lazy
and will never be great but you do
what you know because what else is there?
You know when you write something and it doesn’t come out like it sounded in your head and so you’re left with a statement that bears no truth to who you are or what you believe? Yea. I know that feeling.
8. Lines for the fortune cookies
I think you’re wonderful and so does everyone else.
Just as Jackie Kennedy has a baby boy, so will you–even bigger.
You will meet a tall beautiful blonde stranger, and you will not say hello.
You will take a long trip and you will be very happy, though alone.
You will marry the first person who tells you your eyes are like scrambled eggs.
In the beginning there was YOU–there will always be YOU, I guess.
A few moments of confidence to fire you up for the day.
9. Meditations for an Emergency
It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so. I admire you, beloved, for the trap you’ve set. It’s like a final chapter no one reads because the plot is over
I’ve got to get out of here. I choose a piece of shawl and my dirtiest suntans. I’ll be back, I’ll re-emerge, defeated, from the valley; you don’t want me to go where you go, so I go where you don’t want me to. It’s only afternoon, there’s a lot ahead. There won’t be any mail downstairs. Turning, I spit in the lock and the knob turns.