Gildersleeve on Broadway

by John Ashbery | March 14, 2012

“The barberries have vanished”   
Georg Trakl

Suddenly the most dismissive sky retains
a coy aura the cellar can’t fathom
or undermine. If it was spring these telltale
shards of old snow artfully scattered
beside one’s path would make sense, perhaps.
As it is we’re coming out into the open;
the longer one sidles, the more “him” there is
to keep the a cappella company. Yes, that’s
what we would have liked back then. Stippling,
it was called. And the closer the percussionist
retreats into maculate ephemera, the wider apart
these qualities are. So tell me, why
jostle like this? Lips bleed as laughter erupts
all over the place. It told you not to come. But
since you are here, wonderfully, I’ll add a comment
in the appropriate slot. Yes, you were dumb and
delightful all those years we now perceive as
patching together into a past like a “crazy”
quilt that does turn out to contain some sense
or be contained by it. Witness the runners with their poles
adding up the ridiculous glory of partial
satisfaction, the kind that gets tabled
almost immediately, to be remembered in accents and
other personal trivia long after the storm
has brooded and moved on. “Apace,” you might
include. I’ve kept the jasmine and rotted
horseflesh separate, knowing you’ll do the honors.
Destiny will greet us. After that you’re on your own.

This poem appeared in the April 5, 2012 issue of the magazine.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//article/poetry/magazine/101708/john-ashberry-gildersleeve-broadway