The traditional BLCKDGRD Holy Day post
Ashbery born 95 years ago today, I have read - and posted - Vaucanson more than any other poem by anybody ever. The first sentence in the fourth stanza? Exactly.
2019: My next tattoo, again cobalt blue, that first sentence fourth stanza, facing me from inner right wrist to inner right elbow, I H T W T G A D T L W L I P T D
2020: No tattoo yet, negotiations with Earthgirl, who said I could get another tattoo anywhere on my body normally covered by clothes but please not another on my forearm and please not on my calves, had stalled when plague hit
2020: I can tell by how I'm writing here and in and on tablets I've been reading Ashbery, a poem a day, working my way through Notes from the Air: Selected Later Poems, more than one a day in Maine, reading the ones that talk to me, not worrying the few that don't, that is all that's to it
2020: Ashbery's birthday post never a second thought but the remainder of the run of Holy Days I had a second thought for all but Gass who I've never, this recent bloom of sudden done rampant, I can hear it and read it in my head, I don't want to hear it or read it with my ears and eyes, I started the rereading of *Notes from the Air* just to see if Ashbery too, and no
2020: All that got a second thought (and Gass, who never) will be birthdayed with all proper copy/pasting (if not (as m)any new 2020: bullets)
2020: adding this to the birthday post
2021: Read *Flow Chart* for a second time past February, I admit I started it out of duty (I'd reread everything else at least twice and in most cases more and in some cases *lots* more, and enjoyed it more than I remember the liking the first time
2021: Still no tattoo, I could blame the plague but it's me, I still love the poem, don't need the tattoo
2021: View from the deck of the house in Seal Cove Maine where I'm typing this sentence at six in the morning
2022: Still no tattoo but there are plans for a new tattoo soon, not I H T W T G A D T L W L I P T D (which still may happen) but matching tattoos w C of C's Napoleon
We see that there really is nothing left to write about.
Or rather, it is necessary to write about the same old things
In the same way, repeating the same things over and over
For love to continue and be gradually different.
And the color of the day put in
Hundreds of times and varied from summer to winter
For it to get slowed down to the pace of an authentic
Saraband and huddle there, alive and resting.
Of our lives drape itself around us, conciliatory
And with one eye on those long tan plush shadows
That speak so deeply into our unprepared knowledge
Of ourselves, the talking engines of our day.
Click ASHBERY for lots of poems. I say this every year: 40-so years ago someone gave me a copy of Ashbery's Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror and changed my life.
It was snowing as he wrote.
In the gray room he felt relaxed and singular,
But no one, of course, ever trusts these moods.
There had to be understanding to it.
Why, though? That always happens anyway,
And who gets the credit for it? Not what is understood,
Presumably, and it diminishes us
In our getting to know it.
As trees come to know a storm
Until it passes and light falls anew
Unevenly, on all the muttering kinship:
Things with things, persons with objects,
Ideas with people or ideas.
It hurts, this wanting to give a dimension
To life when life is precisely that dimension.
We are creatures, therefore we walk and talk
And people come up to us, or listen
And then move away.
Music fills the spaces
Where figures are pulled to the edges,
And it can only say something.
Sinews are loosened then,
The mind begins to think good thoughts.
Ah, this sun must be good:
Doing a number, completing its trilogy.
Life must be back there. You hid it
So no one could find it
And now you can't remember where.
But if one were to invent being a child again
It might just come close enough to being a living relic
To save this thing, save it from embarrassment
By ringing down the curtain,
And for a few seconds no one would notice.
The ending would seem perfect.
No feelings to dismay,
No tragic sleep to wake from in a fit
Of passionate guilt, only the warm sunlight
That slides easily down shoulders
To the soft, melting heart.