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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New Freedom Sound Video Clips

Here’s two clips of Mark Cisneros and Lenny Young at Magpie Recording Studio. It’s proven difficult to pull the double duty of leading the session and documenting it, but I did manage to grab some photos 1 and these short videos.

We weren’t able to get the whole group together this past weekend as hoped. 2 We did, however, have previous contributions from a couple of us in hand and plenty of talent around. So if we weren’t all together, exactly, at least everyone’s spirit and imagination was accounted for.


  1. more coming soon!

  2. Like for so many of us right now, covid and other illnesses were inhibitive.