Unpublished poems and fragments from the first typescript:



Two typescript pages, letter format. Undated.

One correction campaign (black ink); vertical lead pencil marking in front of the first four stanzas of part 4.

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, “Benedictions”

Page 1

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, “Benedictions”

Page 2

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1. Foaming Starts

"Seems they was all out of hyena-vomit
Up to the library, Sarge." A true laugh            indele
Eviscerated this retort, all that remained of gin on a summer washday.dele

And yet hyena-vomit hors-d'oeuvres would be served laterdele
In the shade of the fir-treesdele
And ice-cubes clink in the tall frost glasses.dele

As though all [Turkish or oriental] rugs were merely a [new] waydele
Of walking, a kind of glorified place to put your feet
And these affairs merely occasions to sit together or speak.

2. Where the Annointing Happened

In the past year only two of our tribe
Have scuXXX succombed to the pernicious effects of pleasure,dele
And these, like mountains veiled by water or the sky
On the wall of some Italian restaurant
Or close to the sea, where slow boats come and go.
The hours undo their pack, unsweetened by dust and fatigue
As one prowls among shipyards, hopeless of a design
Which faints at the border of intuition carried to new and sunless heights.
A kind of monsoon is watching over Hawaii
In the restaurant mural in my dream.


On the way out from your walk
You beheld the little girl with the bottle of lemon soda
And the photographs of the way things were before they were the way they are now.dele
Sullen, and concealing half of the photographs
In a black woollen coat, out of keeping with the bright day.

The sun has warmed your fingers,they creep swollenly toward your pocketXXXXXX breast.dele
This is the day they said, that the man sets saildele
Like the landscape in your pocket
Turning in from the too-dark day.


4. The Brainstorm

We put everything in order,
A museum of thought was the result.

The page ended just at the burnt edge,
The reader's puckered lips. He is looking for "milk"

In the directory, but this volume ends with the "MI"'s.
Another time will do as well, at school last year

Or elsewhere, in praise of bushes
Or wandering. Everywhere, "D.E.L.I.G.H.T."

Is pinned up; loquacious, others
Block the entrance; it had been taken down and put up again.

5, Epilogue (written later)

Intrigued, I pressed for details. It seemed the carbuncle really had existed, not later, as I had thought, but at a considerably earlier period--say about the 6th century B.C. If my calculations were right, the bottle of windeXXXXX wine we had sampled must have been of that era--it had a sandy taste, like blood on stone. As for Rufus, there seemed no earthly reason why he should be detained any longer, and accordingly he was let go.

   But one week later a curious thing happened, which I like to think of as a kind of epilogue to all this. Walking near the canal one night, I was startled to hear a man's voice in the darkness ahead of me. I summoned him to halt. To my endless surprise, Rufus' tow head emerged out of the shadows. Questioned, he said that he had been looking for the length of lead pipe that which had disappeared so mysteriously from the principal's office, that he was positive it had been dropped there.

   Sure enough, a few days later it was discovered by a member of the local gendarmerie, half imbedded in the sticky ooze and small white pebbles of the canal, casting unintentional blinding shimmers as he bent to pick it up.