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
LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!
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

From Lunch Poems by Frank O'Hara. Copyright © 1964 by Frank O'Hara. Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books. All rights reserved.

I too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle.
   Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers that there is in
   it after all, a place for the genuine.
      Hands that can grasp, eyes
      that can dilate, hair that can rise
         if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are
   useful; when they become so derivative as to become unintelligible, the
   same thing may be said for all of us—that we
      do not admire what
      we cannot understand. The bat,
         holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under
   a tree, the immovable critic twinkling his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base—
   ball fan, the statistician—case after case
      could be cited did
      one wish it; nor is it valid
         to discriminate against “business documents and

school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must make a distinction
   however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry,
   nor till the autocrats among us can be
     “literalists of
      the imagination”—above
         insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have
   it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, in defiance of their opinion—
   the raw material of poetry in
      all its rawness, and
      that which is on the other hand,
         genuine, then you are interested in poetry.

From Others for 1919: An Anthology of the New Verse, edited by Alfred Kreymborg. This poem is in the public domain.

translated from the Spanish by Tess O’Dwyer

(ars poetica)

Poetry is this screaming madwoman. Everything seems poetry. Madmen
gaze high. Everything seems madness. Madmen fear no moon, fear no fire.
Burns of flesh are poetry. Madmen’s wounds are poetry. The witch’s crime
was poetry. Magic knew how to find its poetry. The star wasn’t poetry
before the madwoman discovered it. Discovery of fire in the star. Discovery
of water with sand. Neither poetry nor prose. Salt is for fish, salt is for
death, the poem is not among the dead. Remember, but don’t write it. Love
her duendes and act as her Lazarus, but don’t wake her. Sleepwalker
among cats, thief among dogs, man among women, woman among men,
blasphemous toward religion, fed up with poverty. Tear out poetry’s voice.
Don’t let her find you, hide. Disregard her, ignore her, forsake her. Don’t
touch her wounds, she’ll scorn you. Back away. Scorn the poem. Develop
without her. Give her the necessary distance. Let her feel conceited. Then
insult her for not having written with power. Deride her dreams, slap her
eyes. Kneel down and ask her forgiveness. Take the poem from her belly.
Sleep beside her, but don’t avert your eyes. Listen to what she tells you in
dreams. Acknowledge her when you see her spell the names of hell.
Descend with her into hell, climb her streets, burn within her history. There
are no names, no history. The volcano erupts and rushes toward the poem.
I can’t do anything but bash her against a rock. I can’t do anything but
embrace her. I can’t do anything but insult her dreams, and she can’t do
anything but open the poem for me, just a crack, a crack in silence, without
watchmen or maidens, with a fowl and an owl to keep distant, to keep
silent, to show up barefoot. And she couldn’t do anything but crash against
the rocks, and the wind couldn’t do anything but blow her locks, and time
couldn’t do anything but eternalize her moment. And poetry is nowhere in
the castle. She disappears through the trapdoor, escapes with the fire that
burns her and dissolves in water.

 


La poesía es esta loca que grita

(Ars poetica in Spanish...)

La poesía es esta loca que grita. Todo parece poesía. Los locos miran alto.
Todo parece locura. Los locos no le temen a la luna, ni le temen al fuego.
Las quemaduras del cuerpo son poesía. Las heridas de los locos son
poesía. El crimen de la bruja fue poesía. La magia supo encontrar su
poesía. No era poesía la estrella antes de que la loca la descubriera.
Descubrimiento del fuego en la estrella. Descubrimiento del agua con la
arena, no es poesía ni es prosa. La sal es de los peces, la sal es de la
muerte, no está el poema en la muerte. Recuerda, pero no lo escribas.
Ámale los duendes, y sírvele de Lázaro, pero no la despiertes. Sonámbula
con los gatos, ladrona con los perros, hombre con las mujeres, mujer con
los hombres, blasfema con la religión, harta con la pobreza. Arráncale la
voz a la poesía. No dejes que te descubra, escóndete. No la pienses ni le
des importancia, abandónala. No le toques las heridas, te despreciará.
Apártate. Despréciale el poema. Desenvuélvete sin ella. Dale la ncesaria
distancia. Deja que se siente engreída. Entonces insúltala, por no haber
escrito con fuerza. Entonces ultrájale los sueños, abofetéale los ojos.
Arrodíllate y pídele perdón. Sácale el poema del vientre. Duérmete a su
lado, pero no la dejes de mirar. Escucha lo que en sueños te dice.
Reconócela cuando la veas deletrear los nombres del infierno. Desciende
con ella al infierno, sube por sus calles, arde dentro de su historia. No hay
nombres ni hay historia. Se precipita el volcán y la lava está deseosa de
introducirse en el poema. No puedo menos que estrellarla contra una roca,
no puedo menos que abrazarla. Ni puedo menos que insultarle los sueños,
ni puede menos que entreabrirme el poema, a medio decir, en silencio, sin
centinelas ni doncellas, con una lechuza y un buho para guardar la
distancia, para guardar el silencio, para presentarsedescalza. Y ella no
pudo menos que estrellarse contra la roca, y el viento no pudo menos que
soplarle los cabellos, y el tiempo no pudo menos que eternizar su
momento. Y la poesía no está en todo el castillo, desaparece por la puerta
defuga, se va con el fuego que la quema y se disuelve en agua.

Giannina Braschi, Libro de payasos y bufones, El imperio de los sueños, Barcelona, 1988. Translation Tess O’Dwyer, Empire of Dreams, 1994.