“The Ghost of Frank O’Hara” by John Yohe

John Yohe


The ghost of Frank O’Hara taps me on
the shoulder whispering
and what about
the humor what about talks with the sun
and things that happen at the movies out
of sight of parents don’t forget the thirst
of being in Manhattan in the heat
and Coke the drink
remember too your first
love passion music though it might not come out
in words it’s there in you but I was sad
and said what good is humor in a poem
when people die Manhattan Fire Island
bought falafels which we thought weren’t bad
and walked to Central Park for space and some
children were laughing and he said ask them

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Tribute to the Sonnet


John Yohe: “I wrote this poem in late 2001 or early 2002, and found working within a form helped me say things I wouldn’t have normally said. I had been thinking about the 9/11 attacks, wondering how Frank O’Hara would have responded and, in the same way he talked to the sun, I decided to talk to him. The phrase ‘the ghost of Frank O’Hara’ was in iambic, the rest of the poem sort of flowed out.” (web)

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