A Worldly Country: New Poems by John Ashbery

By John Ashbery

Thrill of a Romance

It's diverse in case you have hiccups.
every little thing is—so many pleased arms competing
to your cognizance, a headband, a pant of soot,
or simply a blast of silence from a radio.
what's it? That's so you might research
for your dismay while, on the finish of a protracted queue
within the cafeteria, tray in hand, they inform you the gate closed down
after the second one international conflict. Syracuse was once declared capital
of a kingdom in malaise, however the directorate
had different, hidden pursuits. To proclaim good judgment
a casualty of fact used to be one.

Everyone's solitude (and ensuing promiscuity)
perfumed the byways of villages we had concept civilized.
I observed you awaiting a streetcar and pressed ahead.
unluckily, you have been just a baby in armor. Now while ribald toasts
sail around a desk too reasonable laid out, why the results
are just airborne dirt and dust, illness and previous age. friendly thoughts
are only that. So I channel no matter what
into my contingency, a vein of mercury
that retains breaking out, better up, extra on time
at any time when. Dirndls noticed with out of date vegetation,
worn within the urban back, advertise open discussion.

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Example text

We’re not children anymore. Why not give real life a chance? I was here and did nothing about it. Therefore I am condemned to the punishment of the just: long, loose-skeined parades along service routes. Is there a perfect tense for that? 54 It, or Something No hope for last night. They’re as much like that as anything—when I thought of going upstairs it didn’t occur to me to stop at the landing. Even less to walk back down, walk around near the stairs, and then—oh why not— go out, into the next room or even outside.

The shiny cars of another era are coming to take us where we wish to be taken, lest we outstay our welcome and sink in the embrace of another mood. 31 The Inchcape Rock Prop up the “meaning,” take the trash out, the dog for a walk, give the old balls a scratch, apologize for three things by Friday—oh quiet noumenon of my soul, this is it, right? You lost the key and the answer is inside somewhere, and where are you going to breathe? The box is shut that knew you and all your friends, voices that could have spoken in your behalf .

You rest the same. 53 A Small Table in the Street Less and less sightly, Lord! The cheap shots you sent us yesterday are back today in force, mouthing with precision whatever wisdom is printed on the wrapper’s verso. Let no one draw strength from that. Our climate turns its face toward the heights again. This would have been a powerful soul adventure in the old calendar. Now it’s just random effusiveness: firecrackers and maybe shots in adjacent streets. Well, have the car sent round while we stumble toward this strange thing: an anomaly.

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