More Swiftly Continually in Evening

(an Ashbery remix)*
for Victoria

The disquiet of early missteps
impeded our understanding of late afternoon,
while our bed’s confusion warns away snap judgments
made anyway, already, and anyhow
through the open window a band of marauding children
add color to our separate, parallel thoughts
where illusion matters no more than the rest
and hunger enters, as always, the change grotto.

I love your green eyes in the raveling light,
your flesh murmurs beyond cascading
screens of celerity misting over
morning’s exigencies, and the whippoorwill
sounding over everything. See, already
the script is smudged in the progression of hours,
dissolving in a pool of elaborate misgivings,
only ornamental now, as a star’s light to a star,
traveling swiftly to earth.

 
*The poem’s title and the list of words that follow were cut from John Ashbery’s poem Fragment:

  • “The disquiet of early”
  • “bed’s confusion”
  • “band of…children”
  • “our separate, parallel thoughts”
  • “illusion matters no more than the rest”
  • “change grotto”
  • “the whippoorwill sounding over everything”
  • “elaborate misgivings”
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5 Responses to More Swiftly Continually in Evening

  1. Susan Scheid says:

    Beautifully done. I think the line that gets to me most of all is entirely yours, no?: “I love your green eyes in the raveling light.”

    • Yes, it came as a surprise. Actually the whole poem surprised me. It began as an exercise, just to use some of the beautiful phrases from ‘Fragment’ to make a poem. Inexplicably I found myself writing that line and it became a love poem.

      P.S. I like Adams’ ‘The Wound Dresser’ – listening now.

  2. Brendan says:

    Interesting to remix (great handle there) Ashbery into a love poem. My forays into him don’t show a willingness to get too addled into the heart’s demands for simple intimacies — but then I haven’t read all that much, either. The verbal rococo here maintains distance from the Beloved — “separate” — but also “parallel,” hanging in there, keeping up the painterly jazz snuggled into close to another’s jazz. Which may be as proximal as two humans can get otherwise. Lots of ways to write a love song. Didn’t Ginsburg attempt some settings of Blake to music? I got the feeling you were using Ashbery’s chops to write a very un-Ashberian love song, but I might have been wrong. Who knows what we find when we play trope-a-dope.

  3. ManicDdaily says:

    A wonderful poem of atmosphere and emotion. I see the couple so vividly, the children playing, the coupling and then the retreat. Beautifully done. K.

  4. angela says:

    Simply lovely, your words and form work wonderful with Ashbery’s words. I do hope that you wrote this on a special piece of paper and then left it on Victoria’s pillow…a muse still needs to know her power ~

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