09 October 2009

I Carry My Heart in My Pocket

"Papaya juice and back to work/I carry my heart in my pocket/It is poems by Pierre Reverdy.~ Frank O'Hara

I first pulled Frank O'Hara into my heart when I read the below poem at the behest of my poetry workshop professor, David Kirby. O'Hara was killed, young, on a beach, by a dunebuggy, of all things. "Papaya juice/and back to work./I carry my heart in my pocket/It is poems by Pierre Reverdy," sunk my soul with longing, because for years the only Pierre Reverdy work I knew, "For Today," found in a gorgeous illustrated book of poetry for children, the name of which is now forgotten--hung on a paper bag on the wall, inscribed in black Sharpie, in the first house I lived in on my own--with Kat and Karen, who are still my dearest friends. So. In honor of the UK's National Poetry Day (which was yesterday), papaya juice, and Friday, the end of the week, I give you two poems close, so close, to mein heart.

A Step Away From Them by Frank O'Hara
It's my lunch hour, so I go
for a walk among the hum-colored
cabs. First, down the sidewalk
where laborers feed their dirty
glistening torsos sandwiches and Coca-Cola,
with yellow helmets on.

They protect them from falling
bricks, I guess. Then onto the
avenue where skirts are flipping
above heels and blow up over grates.

The sun is hot, but the
cabs stir up the air. I look
at bargains in wristwatches. There
are cats playing in sawdust.
Onto Times Square, where the sign
blows smoke over my head, and higher
the waterfall pours lightly. A
Negro stands in a doorway with a
toothpick, languorously agitating.

A blonde chorus girl clicks: he
smiles and rubs his chin. Everything
suddenly honks: it is 12:40 of a Thursday.

Neon in daylight is agreat pleasure,
as Edwin Denby would
write, as are light bulbs in daylight.
I stop for a cheeseburger at JULIET'S
CORNER. Giulietta Masina, wife of
Federico Fellini, è bell' attrice.
And chocolate malted. A lady in
foxes on such a day puts her poodle
in a cab.

There are several Puerto
Ricans on the avenue today, which
makes it beautiful and warm. First
Bunny died, then John Latouche,
then Jackson Pollock. But is the
earth as full as life was full, of them?
And one has eaten and one walks,
past the magazines with nudes
and the posters for BULLFIGHT and
the Manhattan Storage Warehouse,
which they'll soon tear down. I
used to think they had the Armory
Show there.

A glass of papaya juice
and back to work. I carry my heart in my
pocket, it is Poems by Pierre Reverdy.

For the Moment by Pierre Reverdy
Life is simple and gay
The bright sun rings with a quiet sound
The sound of the bells has quieted down
This morning the light hits it all

The footlights of my head are lit again
And the room I live in is finally bright
Just one beam is enough
Just one burst of laughter
My joy that shakes the house
Restrains those wanting to die
By the notes of its song
I sing off-key

Ah it's funny
My mouth open to every breeze
Spews mad notes everywhere
That emerge I don't know how

To fly toward other ears
Listen I'm not crazy
I laugh at the bottom of the stairs
Before the wide-open door
In the sunlight scattered
On the wall among green vines
And my arms are held out toward you
It's today I love you.

{Image Sources: 1. Books via We Heart It via Beautiful Fragile Tumblr; 2. Girl at Window via We Heart It ; 3. Frank O'Hara Portrait via This Recording; 4. Heart Pocket Girl via We Heart It via We Had the Stars Tumblr; 5.Coca Cola via We Heart it via Meet Me in Mountak Flickr ; 6. Windy Skirt via Photos by Alyssa Flickr 7. 1960s NY Scene by Christina Montone Flickr 8. Times Square via We Heart It; 9. 1960s NY Scene by Christina Montone Flickr ; 10. Giulietta Masina; 11. New York Portrait; 12. When Doves Cry via We Heart It via Jezebel 13. Papaya Juice via We Heart It; 14. Pierre Reverdy Poetry Collection Cover by Picasso via Madame Lamb; 15. Lemon Girl via We Heart It via Illuminate My World Tumblr; 16. Unkown Legend via We Heart It; 17. Laughter via We Heart It via Poignant Tumblr 18. Girl in Despair via We Heart It via Kaos and Heaven; 19. Singing Bird via We Heart It 20. Color Halo via We Heart It via Yay Every Day; 21. Running Boy via We Heart It via That Was the Day Flickr; 22. Girl in Bed via We Heart It}


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Amazing post! I absolutely adored this... You really brought the words to life there. Thanks x

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