I am not a painter or a poet.
I am a bartender at the Five Spot,
yeah a bartender. I know all these guys.
Take Frank O’Hara, he’s a poet
a really good poet. He’s got a friend
Mike Goldberg, a good painter.
They go on all the time about
painting versus poetry. Frank talks
and mostly Mike draws on napkins.
I serve them drinks like all the regulars.
So, Frank says to Mike about one
painting, “you have SARDINES in it
then in a few days they’re gone,
‘Where’s SARDINES’”? I’m listening.
Mike says to Frank, “It was too much”.
They laugh over their drinks. I shrug.
Then Frank he’s talking poetry
a poem about the color orange.
Frank says to Mike, ‘first it’s a line
then a page not just lines then many pages
not of orange, but of words about life and
soon I’ve got twelve poems called “ORANGES”.
To Frank, "too much" is not a problem.
So, as a bartender I see it this way.
Mike's “It was too much” said it all.
When Frank’s got "too much"
he just starts more poems.
Poets are only limited by their minds.
Mike, when he's got "too much"
he gets rid of stuff to fit his canvas.
Painters are limited by their canvas.
That's poets and painters.
Can I get you something?