Heavy Home

by John Ashbery

“hungry eaters of a slender substance” – C. M. Doughty

One thing follows another awning in the event horizon. One life in the
going changes the subject. Some things made sense, others didn’t. I didn’t
expect to die so soon.Well, I guess I’ll have to have tabulated myself in
some way. I’d discussed writing on your leg. Others in the tree school
groaned, stirred in their sleep, having lately put away childish things. All
of us late.What if we lived overseas? We could survive on alms and
pledges for a while, find jobs in the barrel industry, decoct melismas on
which to build an echo.

Here we break camp; it was decreed by an elder, or alder. He put the
water on to boil. He sends us itches and the wherewithal to scratch them,
fossils in the guise of party favors. Then sprang dull-headed into the
gilded surround, chimera after all. Tears from the doll leaked out. It was
as if we had chosen this path on a different journey, and were waiting in
the deafening wilderness for our instincts to catch up, leggy hope.

Many flushings of the toilet later you’ll give it back and we’ll give it to the
mechanical oracle, render unto caesura, and expect thrifty thanks,
somewhere between laughter and obloquy. But how quaint the
semicircular drive and its trimmings: gazing globe, lark’s mirror, lime
twigs, tinsel, ormolu, Venus’s fly trap, pattes de velours, Rembrandt and
his goat. On a return visit we were not received, the grace period
having expired.

The pictograph is also a chimera. Since day one you’ve abused it. Resting
on our oars we breathe in the attar of dissent, breaking off of
negotiations, recall of ambassadors, the rift within the lute. For the time
being the disputed enclave is yours. But its cadence is elsewhere.