The first typescript

[Page 45]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, page 45


There are only a few travelers on Z high road.
From behind the shutters a pair of black eyes are watching them.dele
They belong to the wife of P, the high school principal.

It was forty-odd years ago I first saw you
Coming over the self-same track.

And I still walk out to meet you.
The screen door bangs in the wind, one of the hinges is loose.
And together we look back at the house.
It could use a coat of paint
Except that I am too poor to hire a workman.

I have all I can do to keep body and soul together.
And soon, even that relatively simple task may prove to be beyond my powers.

That was a good joke you played on the other guests.
A joke of silence.

One seizes these moments as they come along, afraid
To believe too much in the happiness that might result
Or confide too much of one's love and fear, even in

The spring, though mild, is incredibly wet.
I have spent the afternoon blowing soap-bubbles
And am unfit for the company of my fellow humans.

And so it is with a feeling of delight I realize I amdele
All alone in the skittish darkness.
The birch-pods come clattering down on the moss-grown marble pavement.
And a curl of smoke stands above the triangular wooden roof.

Seventeen years in the capital of Foo-Yung province!
A-hii-y! A-hii-y!
Surely woman was born for something.
Besides continual fornication, interrupted retarded only by menstrual cramps.dele

I had thought of announcing my engagement to youdele
On the day of the first full moon of X month.

Engineer Y said, "The clouds hang in the heavens
Like hungry hawks above a cornfield." It is time
To go inside now, and curl up with the misery of a good book.