Mothers weep into their baby’s faces at the sight of those poems. Senators condemn poetry altogether, “it can’t be done,” they say, “we won’t allow it.” Teens stay in the bathroom for hours after school. From across the sullen wet field’ll walk a man hitting himself in the face and cursing the Lord God. Even you, who’ve seen the lions tear up the gazelles for no good reason, cannot turn away from the burning city. Sometimes a poem is nothing more than a romantic-interest filtering device: is this poem astonishing? If so, then please marry me. But at the end of the day it is John Ashbery who is afraid of commitment. A letter will arrive in the mail signed by John; I’m sorry for the obscurity. But you know he’s not really sorry. The bats hang from the proscenium arch, the angels ignore the bloody door, but you’ll remain amongst the damned hoping even one of them will be saved.
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