“Lines For The Fortune Cookies” and why I love it

Lines For The Fortune Cookies by Frank O’Hara

I think you’re wonderful and so does everyone else.

Just as Jackie Kennedy has a baby boy, so will you–even bigger.

You will meet a tall beautiful blonde stranger, and you will not say hello.

You will take a long trip and you will be very happy, though alone.

You will marry the first person who tells you your eyes are like scrambled eggs.

In the beginning there was YOU–there will always be YOU, I guess.

You will write a great play and it will run for three performances.

Please phone The Village Voice immediately: they want to interview you.

Roger L. Stevens and Kermit Bloomgarden have their eyes on you.

Relax a little; one of your most celebrated nervous tics will be your undoing.

Your first volume of poetry will be published as soon as you finish it.

You may be a hit uptown, but downtown you’re legendary!

Your walk has a musical quality which will bring you fame and fortune.

You will eat cake.

Who do you think you are, anyway? Jo Van Fleet?

You think your life is like Pirandello, but it’s really like O’Neill.

A few dance lessons with James Waring and who knows? Maybe something will happen.

That’s not a run in your stocking, it’s a hand on your leg.

I realize you’ve lived in France, but that doesn’t mean you know EVERYTHING!

You should wear white more often–it becomes you.

The next person to speak to you will have a very intriquing proposal to make.

A lot of people in this room wish they were you.

Have you been to Mike Goldberg’s show? Al Leslie’s? Lee Krasner’s?

At times, your disinterestedness may seem insincere, to strangers.

Now that the election’s over, what are you going to do with yourself?

You are a prisoner in a croissant factory and you love it.

You eat meat. Why do you eat meat?

Beyond the horizon there is a vale of gloom.

You too could be Premier of France, if only … if only…

You can find this poem on americanpoems.com as I did as well as in tons of books because it’s awesome.

Frank O’Hara is one of my favorite poets because even though his poems are older (O’Hara was born in 1926 and died in 1966) they are all still just as timely and relevant today as when they were written. I love O’Hara’s breezy style that makes the writing seem to effortless.

This poem, like much of O’Hara’s work, is quirky and offbeat. It’s modern and it’s New York. It could be about anyone which makes it about everyone.

This is one of my favorite poems because I love fortune cookies (who doesn’t?) and because he takes that simple, classic form and turns it upside down. The simplicity is deceptive as the poem takes one liners, aphorisms, and strings them together to create a larger meaning.