A dream that reminded me of Olle Holmberg

    I'm staying in an old hotel in some city that's cold, there's snow on the ground – probably London. I'm here to work. Frank O'Hara, the poet and art critic, is staying at the same hotel and takes me under his wing. We walk back to the hotel and he is talking about artists I haven't heard of, but they sound great. He's wearing a white shirt but is otherwise dressed in black. On the walk I am looking for an open chemist because I want to get a prescription filled. As we walk along and pass a few, I remember there's one in the hotel lobby. When we get there Frank shows me some of his new poems. I'm able to read over his shoulder because he's so short. He is stuck on a sentence and is scratching his head. The date at the bottom of the page says 1951. Then he goes off to his room, and I wander into the chemist's. I ask the price of getting a prescription filled, and the woman behind the counter, who has a proper Pommy accent, says it'll be $18.95. 'Strewth! That's a lot!' I say. She looks me up and down and says 'Oh you drug addicts live in a little world of your own – haven't you heard about inflation?' I race out of the hotel to find another chemist, and find one just before close. I ask the chemist, an old bloke this time, how much it will be. '$5.50' he goes. I say, 'I'll have two thanks.' He gives them to me, and I pay him. Before I leave I ask him how come he can sell it so cheap when the chemist in the hotel sells it for $18.95. He says, 'They let inflation get to them.' How do you avoid it I ask, and he says 'The way to beat inflation is to live in the past.' I ask him what he means and he says 'Anyone can do it. Look at Frank O'Hara – he was still writing in the seventies after he'd been dead for ten years.' 'Oh,' I say. I sense that he's right, but I can't get my head around it. Nothing much happens after this.
—Anusha Kenny