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 books are Alone and Not Alone (poems), Motor Maids across the Continent (a novella), and Zone (a translation of selected poems by Guillaume Apollinaire). Padgett's poems are used in Jim Jarmusch's film Paterson.