The first typescript

[Page 28]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, page 28

III-H Gdele

His  day is breaking over the eastern mountains, at least that's the way he tells it.
Only the crater of becoming--a sealed consciousness--resists the profaning mess of the sun.
You who automatically sneer at everything that comes along, except your own work, of course,
Now feel the curious force of the invasion; its soldiers, all and some,

A part of you the minute they appear. It is as though workmen in blue overalls
Were constantly bringing on new props and taking others away: that is how you feel the drama going past you, powerless to act in it.
To have it all be past! To wake suddenly on a hillside
With a valley far below--the clouds--the kind that are flat on the bottom, with long tails,dele
Roll away, leaving a plastron of ill feeling...dele
AndXXX in some bright environment daftdele
Imaginary cohorts join the fraydele

The cuisine of this place has driven me maddele
I shall have to run away--I been so long away from you--dele
There is a cheaper figure, however, called "The Talking Hand."dele
Quite a number of these make a good decorative frieze.dele

You might try interspersing them with separate flowers--dele
Peonies and violets are good to begin with--oh I knowdele
You don't want to hear the rest of it--Sardinia violetsdele
especially those from the region of Gonnosfanadiga, rapturouslydele
snatched from the surrounding slopes talk more about the storms inhabitants,dele
charcteristics--loving to go out at night--etc.)dele
--how the storm fiends lie in wait in mid-summer, athirst for calamity.dele
When through soft air callingdele
Distant day resounds to this cry: Postpone the evil! underliningdele
The reply you feel sweating out a dreamdele

That the fragments are castrated, caught up in tunnelsdele
And spat out like commands. And the whole thing definitely turns on itselfdele
To return exactly to you.dele

That is the penance you have already done;
January, March, February. We are living toward a definition
Of the peacefullest appetite, then you see
Them standing around limp and hungry like adjacent clouds.

Soon there is to be exchange of ideas and
Far more beautiful handshake, under the coat of
Weather is undecided right now.
Postpone the explanation.
The election is to be held tomorrow, under the trees.

You felt the months keep coming up
And it is December again,
The snow outside. Or is it June full of sun
And the prudent benefits of sun, but still the postman comes.
The true meaning of some of his letters is slight--