Lana Turner has collapsed – Frank O’Hara

Lana Turner has collapsed

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

Frank O’Hara (1926 - 1956)

This is New York and the weather is not good, and the guy is in a hurry to reach an appointment. He is walking with a friend. And to add to his rush is the fact that it has started to rain and snow. This is very annoying. Who hasn’t been in a similar situation and found the weather irritating? His friend said it is hail. But he has his eye on the weather and knows it is not hail, he knows that it would hit him. So in his irritated mood he must correct his friend; if only mentally.

And the traffic is like the weather annoyingly holding things up in his rush to reach his destination. It is that everything going against you type of thing that we all experience from time to time when the one thing we are trying to do is stopped continually by events happening around us.

Poetically these lines marry in with the rush when you say them quickly. And although it is not a sonnet it has that marked change as the whole key to the poem is in a repeat of the title. The title in capitals. And this guy’s mindset has totally changed. And all that irritation has been subdued by the fact that ‘Lana Turner has collapsed’. Wow, it is there on a newsstand, and it hits much harder to the head than any hail! Well, you don’t really have to know anything about Lana Turner other that it is significant to this guy who is hurrying along the street.

And the last six lines deal with the total change in thought. California and Hollywood come to mind. The weather in California is a little different from New York! And we can now assume that Lana is a party-party high flying actress of some prominence. And like Lana this guy is known to behave disgracefully at times. And the plea is for Lana to get up akin to his likewise ability when in similar circumstances.

Frank O’Hara on Wikipedia

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