Here at Gallerist, we think that probably the greatest love poem in the history of mankind is “Having a Coke With You,” by Frank O’Hara. Well, this is Sarah Douglas writing and she thinks that’s the case. Or thinks it right now, at 12.01 p.m. on the day before Valentine’s Day. That might change tomorrow! Let’s see, perhaps something more florid by someone from longer ago… Donne? Keats? Shakespeare? Fulke Greville? (“Love, the delight of all well-thinking minds…”)
No, let’s stick with O’Hara’s “Coke” poem. What could be better than having a Coke with someone you like enough to say you love them? Who convinces you, just for a few moments, that hell might not indeed be other people? Why not watch and listen to O’Hara reading it, right now? Here’s a link. Do it. It’s so good, and he’s no longer with us, and he reads it so well.
Here are a few lines:
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time
That poem was written long ago, in the 1960s, in the halcyon days, the days before internet dating, the sexier days of face-to-face interaction, the days before Christian Mingle dot com claimed it could find you “the soul mate God intended.”
O’Hara worked at MoMA once, so he would have well understood the romantic implications of an art experience shared with a lover and–oh, yes, right, this is a slide show. Click on the slide show above for all kinds of artworks relating to love, coupledom, singledom, pornography. Wait–what? Yes, that too.
Enjoy. For now! Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and you will be surrounded by store-bought gewgaws, too-sweet sweets, and mawkish declarations.
All of us