Having a Coke with You by Frank O’Hara

Having a Coke with You

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

by Frank O’Hara

Watch Frank O’Hara read the poem here.

78 thoughts on “Having a Coke with You by Frank O’Hara

  1. I am or I wasn´t a fan of poetry…. but this is so real and sweet that I don´t want to keep it out…

  2. When I was down, this poem helped me stay alive. It was that simple and that important. Don’t cheat yourselves of those marvellous experiences!

  3. IS this a ‘poem’? Yeah, yeah, I know, “it is a classic example of..”. However, I don’t parrot what the ‘critics’ say, I look at the facts for myself. It is a love note with very personal feelings, I can respect and appreciate that… Can’t say that I connect with it, but that is fair enough–to each his own. But, seriously–POEM? Really?? As Kipling wrote “it’s pretty, but IS it art?”

    • If you’re not sure whether it’s a poem, I would suggest listening to him read it (and if you’ve already listened to him read it, listen to it a few more times). I think there’s a definite rhythm in the way O’Hara himself delivers it.

    • Poems don’t have to have a basic abab stanza format. This is a poem. There are many different forms of poetry, this being one of them. I don’t care if you don’t think it’s a good poem, but you should just get over what your ideals of poetry are and actualy explore the different forms before you actually judge this.

    • yes it IS art….something as creative and as beautiful is considered art ……..trust someone who writes poetry for a living

  4. Having A Coke With You made me stop and reasses my life. Am I truly happy. Do I feel like I’ve accomplished anything worth writing home about? I sit here And now and even now I know the answer is still no…

  5. Really. People are rude sometimes -.-
    Ken T

    June 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

    IS this a ‘poem’? Yeah, yeah, I know, “it is a classic example of..”. However, I don’t parrot what the ‘critics’ say, I look at the facts for myself. It is a love note with very personal feelings, I can respect and appreciate that… Can’t say that I connect with it, but that is fair enough–to each his own. But, seriously–POEM? Really?? As Kipling wrote “it’s pretty, but IS it art?”

    YES! of course its poetry! Poetry can be free verse, as well as have symbolism that only the writer will know, so back off Ken T

  6. Beautiful poetry. It’s like an enigma – inbetween eras. I love the modernity with the coke, and the humor of the art.
    This is too sweet. Unconventional and not outwardly romantic, but sweet nonetheless. I’d love to have a dramatic reading of this with the guy I’m going to marry.

  7. Lindy don’t fret, I’m assuming Ken T only understood the word coke in the poem. Hence his frustration on comprehending it. Maybe stick to ‘roses are red violets are blue’ poems Ken.

    • That is so uncomprehendingly rude. I agree with ken, I do not think this should qualify as a poem. Yes poems can be free verse however this is clearly a love note and their is no poetic phrase ir prose, and by that standard this commet could qualify as a poem. Also just because someone qestions something does not mean they dont understand how it is perceived by a larger group. Think of all we wouldnt have, understand, teach if people didnt question the common understandings of things. So you greatly rude detractor of soundly based opinions, please learn to respect someone’s thoughts. There are plenty of ways to respond to someone with your thoughts without beig a rude biggot!

      ~E V-H L~

      • By those standards, would not “This is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams also be “just a love note”? I don’t think there’s weight to that objection.

        Many poems are love notes. There is rhythm and flow here, enjambment. They are richly textured words.

  8. Ever since I read this poem the first time, I don’t know. It just seems funny how it’s so simple, yet so touching. Loveee iittt!

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  10. This is awesome…like it or not…who cares?? Maybe Ken T should write his so we can also pass judgement..”POEM DETECTOR”!
    Being a realist, this is great!

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  12. I’m a 15year old boy who is simple yet also difficult and reading this has inspired me to the point to write every day…I naturally write but I have nothing compared to the elegence of the words that flow.and each time I read it I feel the words emotions as if they were mine.this is truely a work of art….

  13. .’i just heard some lines in a movie (beastly), and i google it. When i read it, i felt the love! It is as simple as it is”,romantic

  14. To each his own, we all have our own opinions, some will agree it is a poem while others will not. Reguardless wheather it is or is not its beautiful, emotional, and real. Respect it for what it is not for what you think it qualifies to be. Hats off to Frank O’Harra beautifully written sir and Having a coke with you is an asset to anyone one in the world who after reading it can honestly say it affected them in some form. I know i got something from it and if others take the time to truly understand it then maybe they will take something from it as well.

  15. Honestly, who cares if it’s a poem or not. This is such a beautiful piece of work that should be appreciated not debated.

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  20. This a beautiful and expressive poem. Yet another example of how O’Hara approaches the open form of poetry. Well done and a nice choice for the greenhouse scene in BEASTLY.

  21. Heard this poem on the movie “Beastly” and since then I’ve been in LOVE with it. Its so simple & sweet.

  22. Fell in luv with it wn i first heard it from Alex Pettyfer reading to Vanesa Hudgen had to google it nd read d lines words to get the meaning of it all. Tumbz up Franky!

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