Summer 2000 • Vol. XXII No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 2000 |

Befuddled

Ah, the fartswe used to let back then.Flatulence was a kind of wayof life, I guess. Sitting around doing nothingwas another one.It's a burden, all right,in an elegant apartmentoverlooking the Seine. The pilgrim's starepierces you like a sharpened goose quill.You look down along a day,alack,these spoons still recognize usbut the groundhog has gone under his hill. Now there will be no one to play withwhen we come out in groups, after four,until evenings parachute settles on uslike a pinkish-gray mushroom.You must empty your pocketsof everything, including sandand screw-fragments. Now I thinkit's going better, but uphill.We must join the orchestra. Could travel posters have beenmore delirious? Colors of breadfruit and ice cubes,salt and bourbon. A railroad trestlein a faintly "cubistic" styleso you can see the other train approachingfrom its bed of spruces. . . The rain livens things up, at last.Downtown is perky, though overbuiltoff the face of the planet.Here is where

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John Ashbery is the author of over twenty books of poetry. He has received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award.

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Ah, the fartswe used to let back then.Flatulence was a kind of wayof life, I guess. Sitting around doing nothingwas another one.It's a burden, all right,in an elegant apartmentoverlooking the […]

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