November 10, 2011

Why I Am Not a Painter

Presently, many things are in the process for me; i'm looking for an apartment, another job, and trying to work on some art. So in celebration of the"getting there" stage, I thought I would post one of my favorite poems about the creative process and how art can take unexpected turns. 

Why I Am Not a Painter

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just 
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of 
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in 
prose. I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned 
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

--Frank O'Hara

I think all artists have experienced something like that. Sometimes things don't turn out how we expect. This poem makes me smile every time I read it. I hope you like it. Let me know what you think.

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