Frank O’Hara

Why I Am Not a Painter

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
“Sit down and have a drink” he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. “You have SARDINES in it.”
“Yes, it needed something there.”
“Oh.” I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. “Where’s SARDINES?”
All that’s left is just
letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.

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RIP Henry Grimes and Giuseppe Logan

Two more victims of COVID-19: Giuseppe Logan and Henry Grimes, both of whom had extended musical trials and disappearances followed by later-life public resurgences. Included in this post are Mr. Logan’s quartet LP from 1965, and Mr. Grimes performing on Marc Ribot’s 2005 Albert Ayler tribute, Spiritual Unity. Both men strike me as characteristically New York improvisers, a bit more introverted than their Chicago-based peers, for example, somehow more aggressive in their spiritual stance.