Frank O’Hara Celebrates Dancing at a Gay Bar

I’m sharing this post from Locus Solus with you because I don’t want the events in Orlando to go uncommented on here, and the poem is lovely.

Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets

In the midst of all the horror and great sadness about the tragedy that occurred in Orlando last night at the gay bar Pulse, I keep thinking of a poem Frank O’Hara wrote in 1955 called “At the Old Place.” This daring piece is one of the earliest and most exuberant poems about a gay bar I can think of:

AT THE OLD PLACE

Joe is restless and so am I, so restless.
Button’s buddy lips frame “L G T TH O P?”
across the bar.  “Yes!” I cry, for dancing’s
my soul delight.  (Feet! feet!) “Come on!”

Through the streets we skip like swallows.
Howard malingers.  (Come on, Howard.) Ashes
malingers.  (Come on, J.A.)  Dick malingers.
(Come on, Dick.)  Alvin darts ahead. (Wait up,
Alvin.)  Jack, Earl and Someone don’t come.

Down the dark stairs drifts the steaming cha-
cha-cha.  Through the urine and smoke we charge
to the floor.  Wrapped in Ashes’ arms I…

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About annette.c.boehm

words escape me.

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