The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2017

All Issues
OCT 2017 Issue

The World Without John Ashbery


The world without John Ashbery

has lasted for one day

so far. Soon

one week, one century.

Will people look back

and scratch their heads

the way some do now?

I hope not. But

it’s all out of my hands

anyway, and I

won’t care one whit.

But what he did,

his poetry, that is,

is great.

He gave me a conjunction

and I ran away with it,

though it kept turning

me around, so I ran back.

And here I am

with a conjunction

on my hands.

My idea

was to give it back,

but instead

I’m going to move

the forest six inches

to the left and leave it

at that.



Ron Padgett

Ron Padgett’s most recent book is Non praticare il cannibalismo (Do Not Practice Cannibalism), a selected poems in Italian translation, from Del Vecchio Editore.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2017

All Issues