John Ashbery, p.1



Hungeringly, Tidbit approached the crone who held the bowl,
...drank the honey. It had good things about it.
Now, pretty as a moment,
Tidbit’s housecoat sniffed the undecipherable,
the knowable past. They were anxious
to get back to work. Diane was looking relaxed.
Then, some say, Pete said
it was the afternoon backing up again, inexorable
with dreams, looking for garbage to pick a fight with.
“My goodness! Do you suppose his blowhole’s...?”

Sometime later they returned with Pete and the others,
he all excited, certain he had spotted a fuse this time.
Rags the mutt licked and yelped. “Oh, get down!”
But Rags seemed to be on to something. “And if they come
through the crops this time, we’ll have a nice idea
of where they are, of who these men are. If they abrade
the abandoned silo, no one will be wiser. Look, their pastel
tent, and flags made from the same substance, waving dehors
I’ve got to get an angle on this, a firm tack of some kind.”
Willingly, the flood washed over the day
and so much that was complicated, from the past:
the tiny doggy door Rags had made with a T-square,
surplus sequins.
And if they don’t want to play
according to our rules, what then? “Why, then
we’ll come up with something, like the sink-drain.
Anyway, this is all just an excuse for you to leave your posts,
toying with anagrams, while the real message
is being written in the stars. To go ahead,
it says, but be watchful for scouts
in the corn shocks. This close to Halloween there are lots of little bumps
around, and tea cosies to shroud them. Beware one last time;
but as the spirit of going is to go, I can’t
control you, advise you much longer. Just keep on
persevering, and then we’ll know what we have done matters most
to us”.
With that, the sticks uprooted the tent.
A thousand passions came unleashed,
but fortunately for the girls, none of them were around to witness it—
they were off in a cage with the canaries.
Now, though,
when it came time to vote for who the deed was done
by, the others mattered too. It was just their pot luck.

Oh well, Laure offered, we were going to close down that shaftway
anyway, and the subway came close: It was Mother and her veering
playthings again, torn between the impossible alternatives of existing
and saying no to menace. To everyone’s surprise the bus stopped.
Our stalwart little band of angels got on it, and were taken for a ride
into the next chapter, a dim place of curlicues and bas-reliefs.
If I had a handle, Laure thought.