Mobile Photography / Art – Saturday Poetry – ‘Having a Coke with You’ by Frank O’Hara


As it is Valentine’s weekend we thought it would be prudent to bring you this romantically beautiful poem. In his book, The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets, David Lehman correctly comments about O’Hara’s poetry: “The surface of O’Hara’s poems is so dazzling, with taste so fine and sensibility so rare and appealing, that it comes as a surprise to investigate and realize that there are depths of meaning in his offhanded poems that seem as disarmingly immediate and perishable as telephone calls. The prejudice against humor and lightheartedness in poetry has caused some readers to overlook not only the lyric pathos informing O’Hara’s work but also the incisive way his work captures a world, a time, and a place.”

“Having a Coke with You,” was first published in a small press magazine called Love. O’Hara wrote the poem four days after returning to New York City from a business trip in Spain on April 21, 1960. “Having a Coke with You” is one of many love poems that O’Hara composed during his love affair with Vincent Warren, a dancer with whom O’Hara was madly in love. “Having a Coke with You” expresses O’Hara’s idea that poems can be as direct and personal as telephone conversations. It describes the affection O’Hara felt for Warren. By listing the details of his love for Warren, then comparing them to his own activities in Spain, and great works of Western art, O’Hara compares art to the real experience of a lover’s company and beauty. O’Hara was an associate curator for the Museum of Modern Art in New York and while in Spain, organised a show called “New Spanish Painting and Sculpture.” References to paintings and sculpture, such as Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase and Marino Marini’s Horse and Rider, suggests that the artists were not necessarily in love with their subjects. Throughout the poem O’Hara juxtaposes life and art. Life, in O’Hara’s interpretation is always the better of the two; it is dynamic and unmediated.

The poem is short, written in long, largely unpunctuated lines, giving it a breathless quality. His use of repetition, detail, and imagery give the poem a cartoonish and hallucinatory sensation.

To make this weeks Saturday Poetry even more special we have included an incredibly rare reading of this poem by Frank O’Hara himself. This reading was filmed in 1966, just before his accidental death in the same year.

Source: The Poetic Quotidian

I hope you enjoy this poem, I have matched @BreadGeekJeffrey Simpson’s image ‘Sculpted Love with this poem. You can follow him on Instagram here.

To view the others we have published in this section, go here. To ensure your image receives our attention, please upload it to Instagram with this hashtag – #theappwhisperer



is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne

or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona

partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian

partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt

partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches

partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary

it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still

as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it

in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth

between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles


and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint

you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them


I look

at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world

except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick

which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time

and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism

just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or

at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me

and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them

when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank

or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully

as the horse


it seems they were all cheated of some marvellous experience

which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it

—Frank O’Hara


‪Frank O´Hara reads “Having a Coke with You”‬

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2 thoughts on “Mobile Photography / Art – Saturday Poetry – ‘Having a Coke with You’ by Frank O’Hara”

  1. Really beautiful , inspiring and fresh. The art of putting worlds that collide in the most perfect harmony. Happy Valentine’s Day .

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