Two Poems

John Ashbery

The Welkin

We’re patching up an agreement today.
The insides won’t let us. I sent you copies
by return mail any time soon.
We came to a long Q and A period,
to which dreams are the smutty alternative.
Of these by far the most startling
(not to be tedious) combat greasiness
from Calexico to Texarkana, a splash
on everything they do. They can’t fit it in.

I long to talk with some old lover’s ghost.
I don’t try to understand anything
except our hat should be annoyed.
The shoreline goo stretched far away,
struggled to be determined
at least several times.

It came up before the present house.
I grew up there. The ground was still broken
around it. Have a dish from the legacy.
You’re going to be good with that.
Ever since he took those vitamins a gag order
without any support for these
made five in the back seat.

They say it’s infectious –
work stoppage, invisible mending afoot
that is a circa gritty one
backing through town,
allowed to have lunch if they don’t want it.

Once-dirty glasses. Summit Valley.
I can’t tell the doctor about it.

Dans le Métro

Miracle sans nom à la station Javel …
         ‘Y a de la joie’, Charles Trenet

We got in on the bottom line
at Duck Alley. Ten feet of onions to hoe
and a disruptive sneeze blew in
from the Sissy Isles. What I hope to say …
What I hope to say is, out here west
of the water tower, waggish, resourceful,
you hardly walk away any more.

At one of the president’s meetings
(Miss Hazel to you) to oppose the new constitution
I thought you’d like to know about the pictures
of the babysitter. Tragic annals, rife again.
I was thinking of Tuesday night and none
of the background. I hope he feels good.

Late in the house, watched by my grandmother’s
permanent low-grade calceolarias, sure
to come back breathless … It’s all set up.
Strangers at a concession may find they
missed the onion maze phase of the celebrity mash-up.

The open system showing its age, they said.