Heading Out

John Ashbery

A single drop fills the rainbow glass.
The fountain overflows. How come the purr
and passing of this every night arrives
at stealth? Just – be prepared. If it happens
every day around this time it happens
more than twice. I’d wager this one has nothing
in it. So’s your old man. We get called out
often on all kinds of suspicious business, he decried.
Like when the kittens arrived – ‘le grand moment’ –
or when the kitchen sagged with the weight
of the kitchen garden. You and she shouldn’t
be out around now, yet nothing I would say
inflects your stalking, be it antelope
or addax, or any number of valuable and not so
permanent entries in the lifestyle sweepstakes.

Some were summoned at the sound of a great drum
and could not put off their walking. Whenever they’re drunk
a ghastly change invades the headlines. Here or elsewhere
both rank object and sturdy cult fixture, everything fits,
and finding its place, loses it. Yet so much memory
is stored in this little bin we’d be sure to trip over it
if that were allowed.

I was in here two and a half years.
Missed the inauguration.
Hundreds of witnesses could have sent you the heaviest rain.
I’ll go over there some time and try.
The leader had been staring fervently
like some Lutheran tea party, as though everyone
and his mother was to shut up. Like that.
What’s more, the responsibility of that
miscarries when it is rubber. Yo, temple!
Hear what I’m sayin’? By the way, have you turned off this …
Well, I don’t know what to tell you about it.
Well I was talking about it, doxology, sockdolager.
On French radio we’re trying to take a bad kind of thing
and close up at school.

Own the blankness.
Your napkin ring is bitch-slapping America.
Can’t take them out. The place was above all creative.
Do you want these up? Bona-fide curlicues
everyone talks about? The song of mud
learning to handle it?