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John Ashbery

"Dear John Ashbery" [by Nicole Santalucia]

Nicole Santalucia
Dear John Ashbery

It doesn’t seem to matter if we are a hundred pages ahead or two hundred behind. Everything compared to a sack of melons is sour, which has something to do with aging. But it’s different for dinosaurs. In the manner of a T-Rex with big boobs and popcorn textured ceilings and early retirement… Maybe it’s a hoax. When breasts are blurry it basically means that women are not allowed to see. Thank god birds and humans sleep at the same time or we’d always be awake and hungry. I am not a forger, but I am in denial about my mouth. Everything that grows in the garden and the birds and jangles that fall out of mannerist paintings and poetry biz; I’d rather have a slow mouth with room for all this stuff than a mouth that runs. The same goes for social commentary and those imitations of football and beer. They are positioned near the center like the sun and in the end they are found in books. Bones made of zeros don’t rise to the surface. It all translates to something thinner than air. But in this translation the rocks have a future full of garbage and our necks grow an inch each year. How else are women going to reach the fruit when their fists stand in for stars and moons on nights like this? I’m almost certain that you know what it means to have a steady stream of light. You’ve anticipated future positions that used to be various shades of pink, but now there are fewer sources of light and everyone is shaped like smoke. You got me if I can tell which is which. It could be a nude woman painting another nude woman or an assemblage of fruit and visual trickery.

Ed. note: Click here for the Diode page where you will find this and a second in a series of "Dear John Ashbery" poems written collaboratively by Nicole Santalucia and Dante Di Stefano.

September 03, 2022

July 28, 2022

April 11, 2022

December 31, 2021

December 25, 2021

November 17, 2021

September 12, 2021

September 02, 2021

July 28, 2021

December 02, 2020

October 27, 2020

October 01, 2020

August 29, 2020

July 28, 2020

June 14, 2020

April 03, 2020

October 07, 2019

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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