Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Without a doubt my favorite painting at the Alice Neel show a couple of years ago in Philly was this striking profile of Frank O'Hara. There was another portrait of O'Hara, but he looked scary in that one --to me-- teeth like a can opener, and grayish-green, set in an evil grimace. This one gives me an inkling of his wonder and his hunger to express that wonder. It's a beautiful painting of a wonderful looking man, and strange, yeah, he's a weird beauty.
It was around this time of the year when I was on Fire Island with my friend Crystal Virginia Bacon, late at night, a little drunk, reading tarot and poems on the beach, right where O'Hara had been killed by a dune buggy. Crystal had a book with this Alice Neel painting in it, and I remember studying it this first time by our candle's light, falling in love with its colors and lines as Crystal read from MEDITATIONS IN AN EMERGENCY. When I looked up there was a young stag looking right into my eyes. Then looking at Crystal as she finished the poem and also looked up. Granted, these dwarf deer on the island are tame, but that was unlike any encounter either of us had ever had on the island with deer. He was twelve inches away, and neither of us had heard him approach. We gave him corn (I had several ears of buttered, cooked corn from a restraurant where we saw a drag show earlier called You-Gotta-Wanna).
A visitation? Yes, I'll be bold and say so. That deer had the deepest black pools for eyes I'd ever seen, so delicious I wanted to pluck one out and suck on it. Then put it back of course.
He ran off at the sound of moaning, which turned out to be a couple of guys fucking in the bushes a few feet away, something you're bound to hear at night on Fire Island, no matter how cold the weather. But that night turned into one of those events, or should I say mystical experiences which get swept away with the daily drudge. We all have such stories I've discovered, and I love hearing from everyone and anyone who wishes to share such things.
The most warmth I have ever felt reading a poem aloud was when the sun finally broke over the ocean, and we took turns reading O'Hara's "A True Account Of Talking To The Sun At Fire Island."
There's a veil that gets lifted from time to time, and it's no surprise to me when it involves poets and poetry, meaning to say that poetry often opens unexpected doors to the everyday, which in turn show how the everyday is nothing but Holy. The other night at the Poetry Project for the COLLECTED Ted Berrigan event the electrical current zipped through the hundreds and hundreds of bodies in the room, and if you were there you felt it, and you understood it to be good and loving as you felt it.