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Drain the Swamps

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Two PoemsJohn Ashbery
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The Love Interest

We could see it coming from forever,
then it was simply here, parallel
to that day’s walking. By then it was we
who had disappeared, into the tunnel of a book.

Rising late at night, we join the current
of tomorrow’s news. Why not? Unlike
some others, we haven’t anything to ask for
or borrow. We’re just pieces of solid geometry:

cylinders or rhomboids. A certain satisfaction
has been granted us. Sure, we keep coming back
for more – that’s part of the ‘human’ aspect
of the parade. And there are darker regions

pencilled in, that we should explore some time.
For now it’s enough that this day is over.
It brought its load of freshness, dropped it off
and left. As for us, we’re still here, aren’t we?

In the Time of Cherries

Is it raining yet? I quit. The bands of motivation
recede, in intensity, like paint chips –
heavy to pale. It is acknowledged
that this is the strength of things,

that they will not get better.
One day things actually were better.
It was a season in time, wrapped in song.
We liked standing at the edge of it,
imagining the wonderful things that could be here,
and that they are here, which is much the same.

Shy time that dives into the wings,
too embarrassed to acknowledge the applause,
dense, like a fountain attacking.

In another age of soda fountains and running boards
it hadn’t mattered. Now it was reduced to a bright
particular atom, deep blue and exemplary.

For you, seduction was a way of running,
though not catching up, like Atalanta’s run.
The apples were added by a later source.
Call it pagan, i.e. traceless. Call me
irresponsible, I’ll be back in August,
after the cherries have left.
How motivated is that?

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