POEM [LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!]
by Frank O’Hara
Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up
© 1995 by City Lights Books.
Frank O’Hara (1926-1966) was a member of the New York School of poetry along with Barbara Guest and John Ashbery. He attended both Harvard and the University of Michigan before working as a curator at the New York MOMA. His poetry is informed by his relationships with New York School painters such as Jackson Pollock. Perhaps O’Hara’s most original work is contained in his Meditations in an Emergency (1956) and Lunch Poems (1964), from which today’s selection comes.
Editor’s Note: Today’s poem is for my friend Aneesa who is one of my most faithful readers and keenest critics. It is nice to have a poem in mind to teach you the difference between hail and snow, and to bring you back to North Beach, the beat poets, and the vibrant poetic core of San Francisco.