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This poem is taken from PN Review 216, Volume 40 Number 4, March - April 2014.

‘Queer Subtext’ and Other Poems John Ashbery
Queer Subtext

I’m really not into the past, a zoo.
Really not. Why are you doing that for me?
Urinal my dreams, it seems. I could think of something,
the angle of his shirt, perhaps. The shatterproof screen door…

Elsewhere in real cities, a few biographies point,
postulate. The raw setback school holds.
I saw young, freelancing, orange-juice-in-the-desert,
mythical ladies of China (another of those countries)
fallen together. I wouldn’t send her away.

Don’t get on a train like this
(twisting one of her legs). You’re very liberal.
(Well, I suppose so. It’s something I imagined.)

You’d better decide what not to do.
Everything is pop-up, my 3-time adviser said.
He holds my ear. I’ll be quite honest with you about it.
...


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