Desperate asks, how driven batty
by climate change, can we not make out
a strangers silhouette in the dooryard?
How can I lick some calendars where somnolent
shepherds bear witness while porcelain
nymphs conjugate somebody elses
irregular verb? Im still not in anti-personnel
mode, yet that gigolos DNA is all over
the doorposts, from mudroom to powder room.
They were early, as usual. Cant you guys ever
be late, we wondered, though one wouldnt
necessarily want that either. Arriving in one piece,
jaded, is enough for some. Not to be slimed
by the lake, or weather, or accounted for
by the bruising wind may be all it needs
to recover from a weekends erosion. If you take into
consideration the snobbery that lets us breathe happily in pairs
for sure well have traversed a verandas worth
of elegies, or epics. Let it mean something.
You mean in other ways that changed our lives?
Somethin o that, I says. Is that why clouds
withered scrappily and no tune finally approved
its margins? Fringed with decay all along,
it was, and if who knew better than our selves somber
asides they wouldnt bet on it. But I was a
child here for a long time. I even learned to read
by the glare from that mud factory, fumed
and hectored hostile witnesses, and so
sailed down with evening to be done with penances,
haphazard scraps of truth on beautys trash heap.
Id do it again in a moment, offered the chance,
but luck seldom cometh our way twice,
ye gods! We serve two masters: haddock and bream,
while crumbs muster stingily at our lips.
It was a day like any other, torn from the register.
John Ashbery has written numerous books of poetry, including the forthcoming Quick Question.
Poem Beginning with a Line from Gammer Gurtons Needle
The Bicameral Eyeball