Unpublished poems and fragments from the first typescript:

[Untitled prose fragment]


Two typescript pages, letter format. Undated.

Two correction campaigns: (1) lead pencil and (2) red ball-pen. A note added in blue ball-pen.

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, “Untiltled prose fragment”

Page 1

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, “Untiltled prose fragment”

Page 2

Download searchable PDF

Download transcript (XML)

 I didn't mind her using my toothbrush to clean her
 typewriter keys. It was her replacing it in the dele
 toothbrush holder that got me.
   "No one has ever actually seen a badger." Zoos apparently never stock
them. We had just spent an unrewarding morning at the Zurich zoo where we
saw a small white rhinoceros and an enormousXXXXXXXXXX towering okapi. But the smaller rodents dele
(is a badger a rodent) were disappointingly absent except for the hidden presence
of rats.

   I hadn't minded though as I always like zoos, not because of the animals which
are boring, as secretly and as strangely boring as though menagerie-alphabet books
or the picture on a box of animal crackers. But because of the architecture and
trees and something frank and witty about the smell.dele

   I was explaining about this to Patience, my girlfriend of that day, as we
glided by tram along the ________strasse which commands an excellent view of
the lake. Suddenly she let out an excited yelp which reminded me oddly of suggested the dele
yaps of the morning's foxes of the morning.dele

   "That's him!"

   "How do you know?"

   "Because I always recognize these people that way. I know in advance that I'll
know them when I see them, although I have no idea what they'll look like!"dele

   "Ought we to get off the tram."

   "There's no rush. Anyway it's so cool and nice today I'd like to have lunch
at the Drei Kronenhalle. It'll be nice in there."dele

   I assumed that the same law that had permitted Patience to recognize Mr.
Badger (for such was the presumed identity of the man she had seen from the trolley) stranger) dele
would also result in our meeting him later on. But I was beginning to worry a dele
little about not being able to keep up with the demands of this job. I would never
have recognized Mr. Badger. That was a little why we had spent the morning at the
zoo, not that we expected him to look like a badger, but the idea that there might
be some secretlyXX tie-up between him and the animal of that name which we could real- comprehend dele
ize having looked at one. Secretly Really however we had known in advance that there would dele
be no badgers in the zoo, and also that looking at a real badger was a useless and dele
perhaps unnecessary bit of preparation. So going to the zoo was one of those


almost totally unrewarding tasks with which life abounds, and which we seem unable dele
to escape through some secret reflex of laziness and bad mistaken for receptivity. It had begun dele
produce its customary reaction of melancholy in me despite the pleasant trolley
ride and the sunny, cool ambiguity of the day.
   My spirits began to revive a little though with the white wine we had for lunch,
which also included some lovely pickled herring served on a piece of whitish ice. dele
The herring, I was telling Patience, was a little like the leitmotif of the day
since Badger had just dragged across our path like one. She didn't seem too
interested though.