Friday, September 21, 2012

John Ashbery

White-Collar Crime

Now that you've done it, say OK, that's it for a while.
His fault wasn't great; it was over-eagerness; it didn't deserve
The death penalty, but it's different when it happens
In your neighborhood, on your doorstep; the dropping light spoilt nicely his

Name tags and leggings; all those things that belonged to him,
As it were, were thrown out overnight, onto the street,
So much for fashion. The moon decrees
That it be with us awhile to enhance the atmosphere

But in the long run serious concerns prevail, such as
What time is it and what are you going to do about that?
Gaily inventing brand names, place-names, you were surrounded
By such abundance, yet it seems only fair to start taking in

The washing now. There was a boy. Yet by the time the program
Is over, it turns out there was enough time and more than enough things
For everybody to latch on to, and that in essence it's there, the
Young people and their sweet names falling, almost too many of these.

--John Ashbery, fr. Shadow Train
[Penguin, 1981]


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