for John Ashbery
Let’s live in the dark, under the big top
and sharpen night’s quill.
Your tongue nailing echoes
to the edges of awareness.
A bit of rain trying to fall.
The art of making truth is a science
Did you? Sometimes I let my feet
do the walking
all the way to the goddess slum
where I lose myself in another’s dream
as yesterday ducks out the back
on cue, skimming
some meaning off the fawning light.
The hours repeat their lines
until they grow hoarse.
Time stumbles onto the idea
that you will never run out. And me?
I was only what you said I’d be,
a vow to stay
with the ship when the sea went down.
Or did we meet before? On a shore
covered with words breaking into sound.
‘John Ashbery: They Knew What They Wanted’ celebrates a poet and collagist who knew the value of fun [Chicago Tribune]
John Ashbery is dead at 90; a poetic voice often echoed, never matched [The New York Times]
Remembering John Ashbery [Poetry Foundation]
Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is a publisher, critic, eco-activist, and artist, but is best known as a poet. Spuyten Duyvil recently published his 12th book Triple Crown, Sonnets. Wright produces literary events in conjunction with his publication Live Mag!.
Image by John Ashbery, entitled “To the City” (mixed media collage, 2016, 11 x 8.5 inches)