new john ashbery poem

On Seeing an Old Copy of Vogue on a Chair

For all I know I was meant to be one of those marchers
into a microtonal near-future whose pile has worn away—
the others, whose drab histrionics provoke unease to this day,
so fair, so calm, a gift from cartoon characters I loved.
Alas, the happy ending and the tragic are alike doomed;
better to enter where the door is held open for you
with scarcely a soupçon of complaint, like salt in stew
or polite booing at a concert he took you to.

No longer shall the grasses weave quilts for our revenge
of lying down on, or a faint breeze stir milady’s bangs.
What is attested is attested to. To flirt with other thangs,
peacockish, would scare the road away.

Frogs give notice when the swamp backs up, and butterflies
aren’t obliged to stay longer than they do.
Look, they’re already gone!
And somewhere, somebody’s breakfast is on exhibit.

from the Paris Review.