The second typescript

[Page 13]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” second typescript, page 13


Looked at from this angle the problem of death and survival
Ages slightly. For the solutions are millionfold, like waves of wild geese returning in spring.
Scarcely we know where to turn to avoid suffering, I mean
There are so many places.

So, coachman-servile, or scullion-slatternly, but each place is taken.

The lines that draw nearer together are said to "vanish."
The point where they meet is their vanishing point.

Spaces, as they recede, appear to become smaller.

But another, more urgent question imposes itself--that of poverty.
How to excuse it to oneself? The wetness and coldness? Dirt and grime?
Uncomfortable, unsuitable lodgings, with a depressing view?
The peeled geranium flowering in a rusted tomato can,
Framed in a sickly ray of sunlight, a tragic chromo?

A broken mirror nailed up over a chipped enamel basin, whose turgid waters
Reflect the fly-specked calendar--with ecstatic Dutch girl clasping tulips--
On the far wall. Hanging from one nail, an old velvet hat with a tattered bit of veiling--last remnant of former finery.
The bed well-made. The whole place scrupulously clean, but cold and damp.

All this, wedged into a pyramidal ray of light, is my own invention.

* * *dele

Under a reddish-brown and greenish picture of excited beagles and calm huntsmendele
A mass[?] lot of squalling and retching arose from the messed-up crib.dele
The newborn offspring was given the name of Charles.dele
He grew up to become a successful business executive.dele

But to return to our tomato can--those spared by the goats
Can be made into a practical telephone, the two halves being connected by a length of wire.
You can talk to your friend in the next room, or around corners.
An American inventor made a fortune with just such a contraption.

The branches tear at the sky--

The blight is on inert spacedele
Footage to dig under you sodele
Things too tiny to be remembered in recorded history--the backfiring of a bus
In a Paris street in 1932, and all the clumsy seductions and amateur paintings done
Clamber to join in the awakening (the levee with its chocolate)dele
To take a further role in my determination. These clown-shapes