. . . I still fear to mention the blue
flowers. They scared me most and I
prolong other talk. There were fields of
them around the place, all blue, all
innocent. The artificial is always innocent.
They looked hand-made, fast-dyed, paper.
They nodded ominously in the sun, right
up to the edge of the concrete ramp, a
million killing abstractions, a romantic
absence of meaning, a distorted prettiness
so thorough that my own eyes rolled up
in fear for their identity and I involuntarily
cried at the thought of tiny mirrors where
the object is lost irretrievably in its own
repetition. Is this how beauty accompanies
fear so it can escape us? Do you think these
flowers could be auctioned tintypes or souls
outside hell? Is blue what they mean by
“shun posterity” and “the price of fame” and
“fear of death”? Have I learned it wrong?
—Frank O’Hara, out of “A Letter to Bunny”
(The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara, 1971)