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UnderstandablyJohn Ashbery
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Vol. 38 No. 9 · 5 May 2016
Poem

Understandably

John Ashbery

199 words

It’s beautiful, and all that:
the corner student with the carpet tunnel
or you just don’t know
where to get one
which is all that matters.
I didn’t know but what
during our recent homecoming special
very good plastic muffins were featured,
(the cement trees yesterday),

and that probably wouldn’t be a surprise.
Turn the window off.
The stars, what happens next?
Replacement issues, timid leftovers
burning in reality.

Bear with me, bears.
The radar committee (woman in bathrobe, man
in bad mood) backed down. The chosen honorees arose
or are you going up? I don’t sit with smaller operations.

The ant farm, tossed on frozen seas –
didn’t they have an old pin-up of yours?
The hairnet (stay away) protects my great big head.
In your smart capacity summon the ambassador.
And the infection? It grew.
In 1951 I really, really am, little chum.
Sorry about the vegetables. Stones’ll be pretty with that.

What do you want, John? Informally, a
new body, and an assistant.
I’ll bet the place is swarming with printers.
I wrote them yesterday. Really reached out,
plugnutty. Like the noiseless farts of antiquity
squeamishness is best, yet still.

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