PN Review Online Poetry Literary Magazine
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Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Next Issue Gregory O’Brien In defence of poetry as an offshore island and art as an undersea mammal or coral reef John Ashbery The Heavy Bear: Delmore Schwartz’s Life Versus his Poetry (1995) Mary Maxwell The Way Grass Grows: Janice Biala, Ford, and Pound’s Pisan Cantos Yves Bonnefoy The Tombs of Ravenna David Hoak Proofs of Love: the last letters of Lota de Macedo Soares to Elizabeth Bishop

This poem is taken from PN Review 208, Volume 39 Number 2, November - December 2012.

'Laundry List' and Other Poems John Ashbery
Laundry List

The stranger walks toward the children, who walk
into the sky. A lesson is born. There are those
who'll say we're better for it. Not us, though.
We were born to ignore warning signs and deny witness tampering.
Otherwise we'll keep to the agenda forged for us.
Tinned elegies. 'That' pretty much encapsulates
it while our time on the planet ambiguously finishes.

And though we were nominated for honors,
others ascended in our place, were silent
in the enveloping paradox. Invited to inspect old cars,
few realized what he or she was assenting to,
nor how a blank wall turned state's evidence bloomed
into a parlor of paranormal events and happenings -
just what we'd expected of the leafless afternoon's bestirring twitch.

'Most storied' - I'm getting there
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