The Love Scenes, by JOHN ASHBERY
After ten years, my lamp
expired. At first I thought
there wasn’t going to be any more of this.
In the convenience store of spring
I met someone who knew someone I loved
by the dairy case. All ribbons parted
on a veil of musicks,?? wherein
unwitting orangutans gambled for socks,
and the tasseled nemy?? was routed.
Up in one corner a plaid puff of smoke
warned mere pleasures away. We
were getting on famously--like
“houses on fire,” I believe the expression
is. At midterm I received permission
to go down to the city. There,
in shambles and not much else, my love
waited. It was all too blissful not
to take in, a grand purgatorial
romance of kittens in a basket.
And with that we are asked to be pure,
to wash our hands of stones and seashells--
my poster plastered everywhere.
When two people meet, the folds can fall
where they may. Leaves say it’s OK.
From “And the Stars Were Shining” by John Ashbery. (Farrar, Straus, Giroux: $22.) 1994 Reprinted by permission.