Tuesday, November 20, 2012

John Ashbery

Ghost Riders of the Moon

Today I would leave it just as it is.
The pocket comb--"dirty as a comb," the French say,
yet not so dirty, surely not in the spiritual sense
some intuit; the razor, lying at an angle
to the erect toothbrush, like an alligator stalking
a bayadère; the singular effect of all things
being themselves, that is, stark mad

with no apologies to the world or the ether,
and then the crumbling realization that a halt
has been called. That the stair treads
conspired in it. That the boiling oil
hunched above the rim of its vessel, and just sat there.
That there were no apologies to be made, ever
again, no alibis for the articles returned to the store,
just a standoff, placid, eternal. And one can admire
again the coatings of things, without prejudice
or innuendo, and the kernels he discreetly
disposed of--well, spat out. Such

objects as my endurance picks out
like a searchlight have gone the extra mile
too, like schoolchildren, and are seated now
in attentive rows, waiting trimly for these words to flood
distraught corners of silence. We collected
them after all for their unique
indifference to each other and to the circus
that houses us all, and for their collectibility--
that, and their tendency to fall apart.

fr. And the Stars Were Shining
[New York: The Noonday Press, 1994]

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