“My Heart” by Frank O’Hara

I’m not going to cry all the time
nor shall I laugh all the time,
I don’t prefer one “strain” to another.
I’d have the immediacy of a bad movie,
not just a sleeper, but also the big,
overproduced first-run kind. I want to be
at least as alive as the vulgar. And if
some aficionado of my mess says “That’s
not like Frank!,” all to the good! I
don’t wear brown and grey suits all the time,
do I? No. I wear workshirts to the opera,
often. I want my feet to be bare,
I want my face to be shaven, and my heart–
you can’t plan on the heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open.

Frank O’Hara

“My Heart” from The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara by Frank O’Hara. Copyright © 1970 by Maureen Granville-Smith. Administratix of the estate of Frank O’Hara.


“Shape of My Heart” by Sting

3 thoughts on ““My Heart” by Frank O’Hara

  1. Brian Dean Powers

    I like this poem…. it’s one of the few O’Hara poems that is easily accessible and revealing. Please note that in line 14, the word “my” should be “the”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My gratitude, Brian, for your kind comment and astute catch. I’ll make that correction.

      Oddly enough, that’s the line that introduced me to O’Hara’s work.
      First Aid Kit’s song, “Letter to a Poet,” references it.

      Thanks again! -c


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