Frank O’Hara calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: I am not a painter,

COUNSELOR: How is that a problem for you, sir?

CALLER: I am a poet. 

COUNSELOR: I’m afraid there’s no cure for that.


COUNSELOR: I don’t know. I just don’t think that medical science has found a cure.

CALLER: I think I would rather be / a painter,

COUNSELOR: Are you sure, sir? Van Gogh was a painter, and he was miserable.

CALLER: but I am not.

COUNSELOR: Exactly! How are you feeling?

CALLER: Well, 

COUNSELOR: Excellent! Is there anything else I can help you with?

CALLER: for instance, Mike Goldberg / is starting a painting.

COUNSELOR: Good for him! Have you tried not making it about yourself?

CALLER: I drop in. 

COUNSELOR: Because sometimes, just letting yourself feel good for another person’s success can help with these feelings of envy.

CALLER: “Sit down and have a drink” he / says.


CALLER: I drink;

COUNSELOR: Don’t do that. You should never drink paint. Some people think it’s why Van Gogh was so miserable.

CALLER: we drink.

COUNSELOR: Well, Van Gogh didn’t actually drink the paint, but he may have put the ends of his brushes in his mouth while he was thinking, and he exposed himself to heavy metals in the pigments, and the chemicals in turpentine.

CALLER: I look / up. “You have SARDINES in it.”

COUNSELOR: That is one weird-ass cocktail.


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