The second typescript

[Page 5]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” second typescript, page 5


Seems a sorcerer's magic lantern, projecting black and orange cellophane shadows
On the distance of my hand... The very reaction's puny,
And when we seek to move around, wondering what our position is now, what the arm of that chair.

A great wind lifted these cardboard panels
Horizontal in the air. At once the perspective with the horse
Disappeared in a bigarrure of squiggly lines. The image with the crocodile in it became no longer apparent.
Thus a great wind cleanses, as a new ruler
Edits new laws, sweeping the very breath of the streets
Into posterior trash. The films have changed--
The great titles on the scalloped awning have turned dry and blight-colored.
No wind that does not penetrate a man's house, into the very bowels of the furnace,
Scratching in dust a name on the mirror--say, and what about letters,
The dried grasses, fruits of the winter--gosh! Everything is trash!
The wind points to the advantages of decay
At the same time as removing them far from the sight of men.
The regent of the winds, Aeolus, is a symbol for all earthly potentates
Since holding this sickening, festering process by which we are cleansed
Of afterthought.
                  A girl slowly descended the line of steps.

The wind and treason are partners, turning secrets over to the military police.

Lengthening arches. The intensity of minor acts. As skaters elaborate their distances,
Taking a separate line to its end. Returning to the mass, they join each other
Blotted in an incredible mess of dark colors, and again reappearing to take the theme
Some little distance, like fishing boats developing from the land different parabolas,
Taking the exquisite theme far, into farness, to Land's End, to the ends of the earth!

But the livery of the year, the changing air
Bring each to his end close decline goal fulfillment. Leaving phrases unfinished,dele
Gestures half-sketched against woodsmoke. The abundant sap
Oozes in girls' throats, the sticky words, half-uttered, unwished for,
A blanket disbelief, quickly supplanted by idle questions that fade in turn.
Slowly the mood turns to look at itself as some urchin
Forgotten by the roadside. New schemes are got up, new taxes,
Earthworks. And the hour becomes light again.
Girls wake up in it.

It is best to remain indoors. Because there is error
In so much precision. As flames are fanned, wishful thinking arises
Bearing its own prophets, its pointed ignoring. And just as a desire,dele
Settles down at the end of a long spring day, over heather and watered shoot and dried rush field,