Friday, February 09, 2007

Infinity Is a Long Day

Mary Connelly, Love's Illusion

In the way that Hamilton's collages seem a bit too urban, this might be a bit too rural to capture the suburban under-tone, but, as I currently live in rural Missouri, I'm sympathetic. Perhaps that's one of the major tones of suburbia, as a liminal imagined space between the interiors of the urban, and the deeper mystery and mortality of the rural.

Therefore I've come full circle, and am back to thinking John Ashbery captures the tone of the suburbs, if he knows it or not, most fully, in his poetry. And, by the way, he has a new book out. Mr. Postman, where's my copy?

The above painting graces the cover of the Spring 2007 issue of PHOEBE, which also has a nice feature on some contemporary Chinese poets, and a nice mix of poetry, fiction, art, and etc.

Here's a poem from Ashbery's new book:

Yes, "SeƱor" Fluffy

And the clouds fretted and flew, as though
there was a reason for their acting distraught.
There may have been, of course, but at this distance,
better to act dumb and accept the inevitable
as a long-anticipated surprise. Then if what lands
on your plate stares angrily at you and the other guests
"can't wait" to hear your reaction, why, it's checkout time
at the gazebo and no one will forget you too heartily
as the next-to-last spectator always glimpsed on the premises,
feigning the concern for the victim that marks you as the killer,
for sure. As for being in touch with you guys
another time, we'll take it under advisement.

So this moment's tremors mingle with others
on the departure platform. Who knew it would be this silly,
and so dense? Nevertheless, we have a right to know,
to have our impulses regulated and calibrated in the
interests of farther and fainter reaction-shots. Sure,
you'll get your rights read to you and sooner
than you may have counted on. Let the monotonous
group of listeners pump you for details, we'll provide
backup and terminal ecstasy at the way stations.
It couldn't have been any other way. You knew that.

What's your name down there?
Despite misgivings, the story clicks to a halt,
as always. The credits surge. People rush to leave.
The shiny cars of another era are coming
to take us where we wish to be taken, lest we
outstay our welcome and sink in the embrace
of another mood.

John Ashbery

A Worldly Country: New Poems



At 2/10/2007 1:07 AM, Blogger Andrew Shields said...

Did you get the poem from Poetry Daily?

At 2/10/2007 6:11 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Yes. The book hasn't arrived yet. And I'm still waiting.


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