Northeast Building

John Ashbery

I tell myself I’m a minimalist.
Not that it matters to the big guns
who train their sights on us,
who also know about tomorrow and their brothers,
and had a pretty good run. It would be that time
in the future, that was predicted. The wearing of boater hats
had become fairly commonplace, like going to the park.
Children ran errands while adults went to the movies.
There were more sights along the strand than at first
imagined. Nobody ever heard of an alternative
to these dingy, then bright vignettes.
We had a good night’s sleep and fell into an uneasy dialogue,
like the United States and Canada. Then mild everything.

The runner is already here,
has been for some time, awaiting instructions.
If it was my turn I’d go, but since that is
out of the question, I’ll merely keep my counsel,
looking for some converted to preach to.
The other thing, your happiness programme, fits in
with the recent trend for self-expression. All in good time.
Why is parting, then, permitted?