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A Step Away From Them Analysis

Author: Poetry of Frank O'Hara Type: Poetry Views: 655

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It's my lunch hour, so I go

for a walk among the hum-colored

cabs. First, down the sidewalk

where laborers feed their dirty

glistening torsos sandwiches

and Coca-Cola, with yellow helmets

on. They protect them from falling

bricks, I guess. Then onto the

avenue where skirts are flipping

above heels and blow up over

grates. The sun is hot, but the

cabs stir up the air. I look

at bargains in wristwatches. There

are cats playing in sawdust.On

to Times Square, where the sign

blows smoke over my head, and higher

the waterfall pours lightly. A

Negro stands in a doorway with a

toothpick, languorously agitating

A blonde chorus girl clicks: he

smiles and rubs his chin. Everything

suddenly honks: it is 12:40 of

a Thursday.Neon in daylight is a

great pleasure, as Edwin Denby would

write, as are light bulbs in daylight.

I stop for a cheeseburger at JULIET'S

CORNER. Giulietta Maina, wife of

Federico Fellini, é bell' attrice.

And chocolate malted. A lady in

foxes on such a day puts her poodle

in a cab.There are several Puerto

Ricans on the avenue today, which

makes it beautiful and warm. First

Bunny died, then John Latouche,

then Jackson Pollock. But is the

earth as full of life was full, of them?

And one has eaten and one walks,

past the magazines with nudes

and the posters for BULLFIGHT and

the Manhatten Storage Warehouse,

which they'll soon tear down. I

used to think they had the Armory

Show there.A glass of papaya juice

and back to work. My heart is in my

pocket, it is Poems by Pierre Reverdy.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

At first glance, Frank O’Hara’s poem “A Step Away from Them,” appears to be a documentary poem on New York life, focused on mundane details and daily lunch hour activity, a straightforward example of O’Hara’s “I do this I do that” poems. However, once reaching O’Hara’s recollection of his friends that are now past “first / Bunny died, then John Latouche, / then Jackson Pollock,” (36-38),” a deeper meaning to the poem is discovered and the elegy genre emerges. O’Hara refrains from using all the conventional patterns of elegiac poetry. Most elegies mention the subject immediately and instead of the common reflection of grief and utilizing tragic laments O'Hara's seemingly ordinary poem very subtly evokes a sense of mortality. When rereading the poem, clues present themselves to the elegiac content. Time is the most concrete hint in the poem, with its constantly passing quality it gives a sense of stepping closer towards mortality with every passing second.

| Posted on 2004-10-27 | by Approved Guest

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