Friday, March 12, 2010

Movies, Five Cents

John Sloan made this painting in 1907. He wanted to show the inside of a New York City movie theater. I was startled to see that movie theaters were already going strong at such an early date. 

Poetry Foundation recently sent me an email including poems about movies (in honor of the Oscars) and I was glad they included Frank O'Hara (another New Yorker, and – like John Sloan – another one who has been dead a long time) because O'Hara is among the few male American poets I like all the way through. Being gay, he did not feel tempted to adopt the unconvincing strutting postures of most dead male American writers (and many living ones).

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
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