PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Next Issue Sasha Dugdale, Intimacy and other poems Eugene Ostashevsky, The Feeling Sonnets Nyla Matuk, The Resistance Alex Wylie, Democratic Rags Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Two poems from the archive
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

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when all the water molecules have been withdrawn,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