John Ashbery



Ooh Whitey Bear said.
The sun is yellow
in what commercial
we're dreaming of size now
lest it get away! 

Or if on another Thursday
your credentials dropped by,
sad they came to see you
flushed with the explaining light
of so on. 

Thank you to Seattle.
What they charge
you're enjoying them,
you seem to enjoy them. 

We've got to make sure the implications are sharper,
and 23rd Ave. convenience flower.
Fido don't know the novel as seen.
Why you serving him?  On the air tonight . . .



Dorothy Haddon of Vernon Hall

My summer of dubious irony unspooled
like a tatar's vest, more in the breach.
Sure, others wanted to hold hands, but that was their business.
Me and my orator did just fine,
thank you very much.  Yet there comes a time
when kisses no longer matter.  
Only then, according to some,
do figs emerge from the grotto where winter kept them,
caramels at the ready, knowing now is the one
score to be settled.  After that, we'll see.
But as Ulysses said to the Wise Virgins, it is come and past.
Other criminals are waiting. 

The only furniture is when I can't.    
The garage home fitted yesterday perfectly.
The irony is it just doesn't stop there. 

They seemed so beautiful together,
my ward and homeland security.
If these are omens let us pray to bend them.
Otherwise it's back to the American Revolution, and you know
what that was like. Some had mascots and reasons for patronizing them.
One, its little asshole raw from Rappahannock ice,
preferred to break off exploratory talks,
recalling ambassadors.  See, it ended this way,
with much still at stake
and even more lost to view.


Cribbage, 1954, Utica

It wasn't his brown sugar corsage
(light, firmly packed)  that tipped us off
to the correct running time. That was fixated
in another century, or as
with ice trays dripping from
swollen hands, like us,
only to ask the pardon of a
perimeter, in sandbag heaven.
It was further noticed
that Spot was missing, though the well-house welkin
lay suspiciously undisturbed.  Drat!
Aw...   This the last time I get
sent out looking for Juicy Fruit or
Black Jack. One out of two is enuf,
and all the ancestors
who tobogganed down behind us
had a use for you!  Quicken

or be sidelined with one or
two ward enforcers.  And cut
its own poles, minutes ticking merrily.
My darkness camera amazingly
spews energy coupons
even in Arizona.


But Nobody Says So


So we just mighta snapped it off.  It came served with toast points.  I mean it was kind of
golden.  In receding rays.  Git gracious if you know what I mean, which you most assuredly
don't.  Aha, I glimpsed you that one time in the recording booth.  This was as modern as it
had ever been.  They were influenced by him.  Some dirty magazine prodded the water
pistol duo.

Get up and laugh, investigate or communicate.  It's only your future after all.  It's not like you
were the only person to have ever had fantasies.  The S & M's weren't all that knowledgeable,
or sure.  Besides others come out of the ground at all moments, determined to blot your
lipstick into something more gay and manageable.

So it was the spare root, not the square root.  Aha, I told you so all along.  Get up and laugh,
investigate or communicate.  It doesn't matter which.  What does matter is the sloshing sound
that can be heard around its stump. Nobody wants to deal with that.  Likewise, all came here
under the sheltering palm fronds so's to be around.  So take your sex kit and be off with you. 
In other words hang around all day until the golden toast buds slide across the washboard
surface like honey across waffles.  That is the day we shall meet.  I hope to heck it comes
soon.  You'll soon see the advantages of a puckered surface, like seersucker on the moon.



Lacking a better term for it
your boyfriend's boyfriend opens out to
a large plastic bag northbound, with
northern nuances, disturbed and impressed
by one still kept in conversations,
though fled beyond advantage.
You might want to do it again.
There's a lot you don't know, hey hum.


John Ashbery’s latest collection of poems is Breezeway
(Ecco/HarperCollins, 2015); a 2-volume set of his collected
translations from the French (poetry and prose), edited by
Rosanne Wasserman and Eugene Richie, was published
in 2014 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).


Published January 2016.