HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN ASHBERY

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“But What Is the Reader to Make of This?”
A lake of pain, an absence
Leading to a flowering sea? Give it a quarter-turn
And watch the centuries begin to collapse
Through each other, like floors in a burning building,
Until we get to this afternoon:

Those delicious few words spread around like jam
Don’t matter, nor does the shadow.
We have lived blasphemously in history
And nothing has hurt us or can.
But beware of the monstrous tenderness, for out of it
The same blunt archives loom. Facts seize hold of the web
And leave it ash. Still, it is the personal,
Interior life that gives us something to think about.
The rest is only drama.

Meanwhile the combinations of every extendable circumstance
In our lives continue to blow against it like new leaves
At the edge of a forest a battle rages in and out of
For a whole day. It’s not the background, we’re the background,
On the outside looking out. The surprises history has
For us are nothing compared to the shock we get
From each other, though time still wears
The colors of meanness and melancholy, and the general life
Is still many sizes too big, yet
Has style, woven of things that never happened
With those that did, so that a mood survives
Where life and death never could. Make it sweet again!

                                                                                 JOHN ASHBERY

T R E E

April 16, 2019

tree

 

 

 

T R E E

 

There’s a tree in this stretch of barren hell

It has Beauty  and surely shade

I’ll sit and see how far I’ve come

I’ll look off to  somewhere I’ll die

 

 

 

 

 

 

…but from here;  a boxed baggage bin,

in whatever vessel burning,

Point on  into blank,  frigid  forths.

Andever vexed in yearning.

 

Blind Pilgrims; taxed temporal things

Kinshipbourne, trapped, as my fathers.

Captive on this  course, We’re  bound to be,

Forlorn,  for treks  on farther.

 

 

 

 

from many years ago, for  Daddy

 rest in peace, b.3/21/29-d.5/29/59

Splash something stronger at the base of my pint glass

It’s  more  fertile  earth

For to birth the guts & gas

One might need at night

To go on   & drive clear off

Dark  high-wire  highways

Onto red dirt, rolling on cooling red dirt, to dead ends

So bleak  a laugh comes out as a clearing cough

AFTER A FLUTTERBY FANCY

November 6, 2017

 

 

 

There’s often been  unfocused fire

Before the rhododendron,

8-15-2007-12

 

Like off a roadway, on a hot day,

Sure,  unfocused  fire

Blurring this entire English garden.

Bumble birds and humming bees,

Warm words tumbling, tumbling on great grass.

Late last night it wouldn’t cease;

The dream is in the English sun.

I took cream in my steaming , strong tea.

Virginia, Leonard Woolf  I could see

With her lot

Iris Murdoch & John I could see

With her lot

Barrie and Carroll

Knelt on all fours

For hours

Playful,  cerebral  somehow.

I’m thinking,  As I burrow my brow

Rough for this pillow

I’ll settle, Right now, Near the shade of that willow

& succumb  to cats on a lawn

& three  secret facts of tea roses.

.

.

.

.                                (from 2009)

photo mine

Cognizant Nugget

October 23, 2017

I heard in the crosswords

Cain killed the Keeper of the Sheep

“Learn something  every day”

For most of it though  don’t go and lose sleep

A BARGE

August 13, 2017

A barge I bet  can float through our wait

Hours upset, but in an instant I can’t hate

Hating hundreds of roads apart, while  hearts

Skinwalls near  forever here, & there with you  wait.

.

.

.          (unfinished)

SOME ON LOSING YOU

July 22, 2017

 

 

 

“Outside… I’m masquerading,

Inside…My hope is fading..”

-Smokey Robinson, from  ” Tracks Of My Tears”

.

I’ve seen  winters and  springs

Since I’ve seen a winning hand

But I’m at a loss to say

About losing.

It’s not farfetched to say

I’ve not too far to fall

But it’s best & for the best

For rain and tears to fall

I’m meant not to miss all this all

.

.

I encounter seeing faces I have seen, Countenances

I believe  I know,   abit a blur

I can see the many apparences

Surely, all the one, to me  all lure.

Always

From somewhere  a ways

So familiar in a dream that

Sentences formed for her

presences   are pointless,

When a smile from an eye

is enough.   Not enough.

.

.

A close look!  Too late.  Those closing elevators.

One shine on a glass, as she passes.

A wave or a nod wayover another streetside.

A bolt  from our sure bond  that burns

From another car just as it turns.

We’re silent together and calm

Fifty arms apart in a crowd

In a loud throng.

I’ll see you for a sliver

In all this  time & space, long

In all this  space & time, a pace or two somehow wrong.

OUR PAIRNESS

July 22, 2017

 

 

It wouldn’t, understandably,

Be unwise,

Though circumspect,

You look directly into the seeing eyes

Of an astute, & ably Miss

And ask  the tallest florist

“What’s the apt blossom symbolism

Best for telling  my steady;

‘You know already..

Our  Pairness   (no lie)

Best Real izes     Oh Relief

As we  just justify

Our  being'”

.

“Those, that nosegay  near the ceiling”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.                   i)

M  U  C  H

often it’s uncertain   to see,

to see the true things through,

but certainly sometime’s there’s time

when surely much of what’s new

when noticed might matter

to you or rather

to  me

.

.                    ii)

.

D  U  E

I fear I forget that the frail,

nearly unable, but

when a whisper of   Will…

when they muster an incalculable

measure of  reach

to straighten, and lean up

for what’s due.

That’s alot to wait for

.

The Freshest thing in the clearing

by the pond’s sunk boat,

near a nest,  There’s this ringing

drop, possibly  just now  dotting

one leaf,  left  just new

by all the dew

That’s what I wait for

.

.

.

.

.

(from 9 years back)