Kees was an only child, maybe a happy one. Some of the bitterness could stem from exorcised nostalgia. Look at this poem:
The porchlight coming on again,
Early November, the dead leaves
Raked in piles, the wicker swing
Creaking. Across the lots
A phonograph is playing Ja-Da.
An orange moon. I see the lives
Of neighbors, mapped and marred
Like all the wars ahead, and R.
Insane, B. with his throat cut,
Fifteen years from now, in Omaha.
I did not know them then.
My airedale scratches at the door.
And I am back from seeing Milton Sills
And Doris Kenyon. Twelve years old.
The porchlight coming on again.
Milton & Doris were movie stars of the time. Childhood another country. How doesn't this terse, somber poem shed a certain slant on the art & life of Frank O'Hara? (& on Tate, Ashbery, & all the permanent children of American poetry? Myself included!)