Unpublished poems and fragments from the first typescript:

The Bodice


One typescript page, letter format (laid paper, watermark: “Extra Strong”). Dated “May 1962.”

No corrections, except for one word circled in black ink.

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

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The Bodice

There is a special something in this for the
Inkwell. There are oranges.
The first time you hit the ball it was
Impossible to see the dust.

It has a special charm for the hearts. heads?   dele
Inkwell. There is orange dust
The impossible time you killed the fall.
The camera photographed the dust.

The dust is special. There is dust everywhere.
The way you dealt with the oranges
The time you were killed--your body
Propelling dust. They photographed you.

There was no special reason why they should have chosen you,
The way the oranges of your body flared, you
Had killed his love for your body
That was taking pictures of you.

The hod-carrier stopped. For this reason alone
Your body took over. Write it in orange ink,
Please. Love, once more,
And the impossible situation of the pictures.

The reason the hod-carrier, perhaps,
Your body, orange and full of grass.
Please. Forget the offer of love
Or the impossible will return to your hand.

Perhaps the hod-carrier had not voiced
The orange barley, wheat and grass
Those flags the altar of love
And I return, impossible, to give you my hand.

The hod, vivid, and the air of the morning
Pierced with fresh satisfactions, and alarm.
Flags altered, love of places.
The land is returning. The painted stream.

By the time they got the filter working, the passageway'd
Gone all silver. The tin bathroom was closed.
It was now impossible to return to the flag.
The floor {slowly} reunited their dreams in a single hand.dele
                                             JA  May 1962