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This poem is taken from PN Review 187, Volume 35 Number 5, May - June 2009.

Five Poems John Ashbery
Boulevard Exelmans in the Rain

So many sad venues,
all the others in the house
will soon be leaving. ‘It’s what
makes us stand.’

‘I won’t be greedy tonight,
or generous. Just playful,’ he thinks
for the first time in years. ‘Flowers must
flourish, same as trees.’

Next, permissions in the scary key
of E-flat minor, like Flemish bond,
interrupt the white-haired sage’s
dreaming. I could do it all over
if I had to, he cautions.

High up under the roots the arguing
continues making its point.

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