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Friday, February 26, 2016

Mind 5

Saying It to Keep It from Happening                            John Ashbery

Some departure from the norm
Will occur as time grows more open about it.
The consensus gradually changed; nobody
Lies about it any more. Rust dark pouring
Over the body, changing it without decay—
People with too many things on their minds, but we live
In the interstices, between a vacant stare and the ceiling,
Our lives remind us. Finally this is consciousness
And the other livers of it get off at the same stop.
How careless. Yet in the end each of us
Is seen to have traveled the same distance—it’s time
That counts, and how deeply you have invested in it,
Crossing the street of any event, as though coming out of it were
The same as making it happen. You’re not sorry,
Of course, especially if this was the way it had to happen,
Yet would like an exacter share, something about time
That only a clock can tell you: how it feels, not what it means.
It is a long field, and we now only the far end of it,
Not the part we presumably had to go through to get here.
If it isn’t enough, take the idea
Inherent in the day, armloads of wheat and flowers
Lying around flat on handtrucks, if maybe it means more
In pertaining to you, yet what is is what happens in the end
As though you cared. The event combined with
Beams leading up to it for the look of force adapted to the wiser
Usages of age, but it’s both there
And not there, like washing or sawdust in the sunlight,

At the back of the mind, where we live now.


Postscript                              Jennifer Chang

We did not marry, cross, or fasten
forest with field. We split,

lightning-struck trees, splintered
raw, a natural Y,

two arms of wanting. Love,
we broke

and found the stones coreless,
gone wild with error,

gone. Tonight the field disentangles
the night's creature

concert, insect hymn. Holy shine
that webs the sky

unwebs our sight: I have a vision
you don't see,

a mind's pastoral, not secret
but unreachable

by road, sea, or thought: the lamps
sprout gorgeously,

the wheat is strange. You don't see
sorrow burrowing

in coupled roots, how the forest
finds its way

down here, bone-cold dirt, dendritic
tangle, my wish

to grow old in shadow—must I
die alone?

We did not unearth this rude radical,
we burst. 

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