CONJUNCTIONS:66, Affinity (Spring 2016)

Two Poems
John Ashbery


Playing in Darkness

The men on top of the hill
launched a new dirt lobby
meant to outstrip the precious,
that is, previous, tentative
by a better than three-to-one margin.

And slightly without you
horrified spectators esteem the rain input.
You would have too crude shelter
of boards circling a central meaning place.

Arrhythmia! You pant. Not by a long
chalk, crotch shot
on a bowling team, English-worthy kebabs.
Let Fido confide, or cough up. I can’t
vouch for the clientele, in lockdown mode.
They don’t want you there, aporia.

Mrs. Mulligan down the hall broached the topic
long after everyone had gone home
into the night.


 



Desert Moments

We watched his regular camera
until it became nervous.
There were other horns inside for us,
things the pasta brought, never to be paced over.

My gosh! The President of the United States!
Years and years went by like that.
It was impossible to keep track of them.
I’m all about truth, and meaning. In the end
they said they were delighted with what they found.

Circuits are busy. Of course, we’re not going to sit here
and wait. I have met you in the small shops,
a large cookie presence. It was “robust.”
Save me the czardas

at Puke University.
I’m glad he goes in there.
That was the president, you clucks.
Why is it taking so long?

We might come closer (the eldritch mother’s refrain
over twenty-three years ago).
Oh, that’s what that is.
Then suddenly it’s forty years later,
and I was like, “Holy shit!
I’m just happy to be alive!”

It’s almost like you’ve done something
totally preppy. Your hands are a little dirty,
though.
Yrs and oblige,
Holofernes J. Crinkleaf.

“Dear Smitten …”



John Ashbery’s newest collection of poems is Breezeway (Ecco/HarperCollins). A two-volume set of his collected French translations was published in 2014 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).