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1 Apr 2007

Sardines and Oranges: Welcome to NPM.

Written by sally @ 9:33 pm — Section: Uncategorized

Welcome to The Oh Really’s FOURTH ANNUAL celebration of National Poetry Month! Here’s what will happen: I’ll post a poem each day. You’ll read it. Sometimes, you’ll like the poem of the day. (Sometimes, you won’t.) Sometimes you might read something and have your heart explode in your chest because it reminds you of your life. (Other times, you’ll get bored three lines into it and will go read a gossip website instead.) At any rate, every day there will be poems, so if you just hate the whole idea of them and cannot condone their use, come back in a month.

Here’s the first poem.

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.

— Frank O’Hara

(from The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. Volume 2: Contemporary Poetry. 3rd ed. Ed. Jahan Ramazani et al. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003. p. 369)

One Response to “Sardines and Oranges: Welcome to NPM.”

  1. Pinky said:

    This is an awesome poem!! It makes me feel ridiculously happy! YAY FOR NPM!