Perhaps O'Hara's most celebrated poem, "Having A Coke With You" describes an afternoon spent in the park with a lover.
After returning from a trip to Spain in 1960, O'Hara wrote "Having A Coke With You" following an afternoon he spent with dancer Vincent Warren, his lover at the time. The poem is typical of O'Hara's verse in that it deploys a conversational tone, using free verse and plain language instead of highly formal poetic structure. Several allusions to famous works of art, artists, and Spanish cities occur throughout the poem, further tying the work to a specific time, place, and mood. Although the love O'Hara's speaker describes is personal and intimate, the way he articulates his emotions by using similes, allusions, and common language renders this poem remarkably accessible. Anyone who's ever felt a powerful affection for another person will probably understand where O'Hara's speaker is coming from, and how famous works of art are suddenly less magnificent when real life is finally just as, if not more, beautiful than a painting.