PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
The PN Review Prize 2017 - Now Open!
ENGLISH PEN: time to join!
English PEN relies on the support of its members and subscribers. read more
Most Read... Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott
1930–2017

(PN Review 235)
Kate BinghamPuddle
(PN Review 236)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Daniel Kaneon Ted Berrigan
(PN Review 169)
David Herdin Conversation with John Ashbery
(PN Review 99)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Meet Michael Edwards at the Brasserie Lipp David Herman reads Milosz's life Sumita Chakraborty's five poems Judith Wilson's encounter with Giovanni Pascoli Simon Armitage revives Branwell Bronte

This poem is taken from PN Review 87, Volume 19 Number 1, September - October 1992.

Well, Yes, Actually John Ashbery

WELL, YES, ACTUALLY

To whom it may concern: listen up.
About a year and a half ago a young man was in my office.
This young man,
whose name was Michael,
was the friend of another young man I already knew, Frederick by name.
Well, the upshot of it was, Michael,
who had pulled himself up by his bootstraps, wanted
to know the secret of things already not so secret,
like: water, does it seem swollen, or how much does it weigh
when all the water molecules have been withdrawn,
and to whom does one address onself after the correct answers have been passed around?
I told him, as best I could,
indeed, as I have told others in the past, that such soft
mechanisms, such software, can't be regulated, and if it could,
no one would want any answers. Well he just sits there,
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image