Frankie say: “I have never clogged myself with the praises of pastoral life, nor with nostalgia for an innocent past of perverted acts in pastures. No. One need never leave the confines of New York to get all the greenery one wishes—I can’t even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there’s a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life” (‘Meditations on an Emergency’, Frank O’Hara)
The fleece is green O
yes as the grass and the children
across the road shout every day
and there are all the car horns you
could possibly want, and we listen
to Chet play
This town is really coming along
Chet’s previous owner, Jenny, responds to the four photos she’s been sent to show the kids his new life in the bohemian city.
She writes, in what Sir Geoffrey Hill might call late style of Carol Ann Duffy: ‘Thank you they all great. Kids r really happy he is with u thanks’
Frank & Chet are basking in the limelight here, they think it’s an authentic new voice, and they’ve been playing around with some line breaks:
Thank you they
all great .
Kids r really
happy he is
with u thanks
they all great
Kids r really happy
he is with you
Thank you they all great
Kids r really happy he is with you
you they all great .
Kids r really happy
he is with u
CHET: Ah man the hut has a door in the back now. No fear here for my teeth, there’s no smack and there house is edible, we gnaw all night and snack on the spinach and cucumbers, never thought I’d eat so many greens. The hay is as sweet as a queen.
So now Chet lives here
too we are two hip
guinea pigs one a writer
and one a jazz crooner
in search of a poem and a
trumpet chew toy
and the couch was so pink! And the gray
towel was so large and soft
in the cage we chatter
and jive through our huts as
the wind chimes chime.
It is February.
CHET: Shit, the surprise! No one said there was gonna be a guy already in the place. Never thought I’d wanna stay on her hand, but there he was -
FRANK: Oh suddenly the hand
drops this guy who looks like me and his whorls
are Rauschenberg, they’re Johns, they’re
Mondrian meets Mad Men, and he goes
wild and we’re chasing round the cage and my life
blows open like the ghost of George
was sucked into hell or at least some unused
subway station where he can’t even get a Coke.
CHET: And there’s this pig who only sits and stares, man I had to shake that guy up and I tell you we saw some action that night. The air was full of the sounds, the weeps and chatters peeps and skitters.
FRANK: My life has changed. We need to change the cage.
Ah, the backstory, the backstory… Man, here I am with my brother, we were Galaxy and Solar Plexus, up in the sticks, and I don’t mean drum. I’m the fast one and you should see me blow. And don’t I know it, I’m headed for the city where the hay is sweet and the sounds are sweeter. Just call me Chet Baker.
FRANK: Oh the dolor and the ignominy of
George’s cage, I can never be good enough
in this other cavey’s shoes, he’s up there
in his photograph, the handsome devil,
and down here the cage is as bare as the Cedar
after closing! and no one ever talks, how
can you have a LIFE without CONVERSATION
or PICTURES as Alice once said
no Jack, no wailing notes, and not
a drop of paint! I think about
getting a cab but there isn’t a cab, there is only
the ghost of George to talk to and sometimes
that quiet little boy.
In the new place, they
can get rid of the redeye and sing me songs
all the better for the joy of life