Toby Fitch: 2 new poems, after John Ashbery

  Toby Fitch

  new poems

  after John Ashbery   JPR 07

and Aesthetic Chills is their name

you can’t frisson like that any more
still bothered about beauty you have to put out
in the field let the field decide
whatever memes happen to me today
’s okay if we can handle the strange handles of
you who’ve so many more lovers
lining up online people who look up to
& down at you willing god that your selfie game balloons out
till you pop / filter or block what you come to
regret now
                                          what else can we plonk
in your deep dark dank poem?
/ flowers are still nice but you need to be them
or buy them / induced by business to quit & drive
a Tractosaur thru delphiniums
humming songs from Mad Max & Sanditon
/ boys’re okay still too i s’pose
but beware of the ones who were once in bands
& those who don’t seem to be able to
look up to the sky
                                          ’cause there are other cats
of similar ilk & words too
to play down / dumb down / play dumb w/
in a minor key so that lyric heads can come to unlock
Lacan’s writing desk broke the internet
went bonkers like a Japanese knock-off when you got shared
for playing instrumentally
a badly doctored cover that saw the sea
oscillate b/w love & hate its feedback screaming
down a slippery slope
                                          something ought to be
written about the banality of evol (sic)
the aesthetic chills you get when streaming & how the feels
feed your poetry: a mind cluttered w/ empty things
isn’t the death of you / a generation
/ people’ve always tuned out / mashing our genials together
pining transmits itself anyway the way a tree breathes
dark b/w breaths if only for the sake
which tastes coldly great on another’s tongue or limb their ache
to also communicate
                                          how leaving you now
’s the only way for understanding to dawn on me & so ruin
the mystery as it comes undone

All the Skies above Girls on the Run

a big boom was passing over my head lugubrious in the dark air
& a really bright light exploded above the barn
words fell like spring rain from lips
a sprinkle of diamond confetti over confused lands
the girls ran along tonight’s question mark
loomed in the agate sky pointing them toward dewdrops
& madness tears in the rain

Darger 1


wondering whether any of them had seen the big flash
in the sky in the comet of the lighthouses
plastic star removal continues
the real message is being written in all those big air bubbles
it was snowing a portent of shooting stars to come
the droplets made diagonal streaks
in the air where pterodactyls had been climbing

Darger 2: “Strange Birds”


to get a better view of the stars & the harvest moon
waxing as it waned into delirium tremens on the birdbath night
’s purple wrinkles danced like moonflowers
to the great here & there skies
gilded & armoured dawn was unsealing
the tips of tall buildings swayed to & fro in time
under the fluted covers of a big naked cloud

Darger 3 “Shelter From the Storm”


pushing rudely into the foreground
a giant paw over the moon
so that not even the dimpled sun as it coasted
majestically by these geese
sun burning his way thru flowers he thundered
pus of the sun brooding in sunburnt earth
could vale the sea

Darger 4 – Cath


air was like sludge & yellow
winds turned the trailer park to dust
i gave some of my substance to the wind
lauding all future dust-storms it slithered over sandbars
in the coloured environment of sky moths buzzed
one had the courage to come out
far into the misty seasoned twilight from a distant patch of loam

Darger 5: “After McWhorter Run”


the stealth of horizon neared us haply
a speck was arriving it was this side of sunset
again from which other squall daffodils
& the girls depended
on sliding toward some remainder of light i felt stretched away
into the hyacinth distance
blue was materializing a pink boomerang

Darger 6


that crested at where the nearest cloud-scraps had been
exploded in a geyser of impatience
a great plane flew across the sun the sun shone on
it was green like an elephant
green sky explains more about tomorrow
under whatever sun they send up to be worshipped
imbibed in the twilit nest of evening something was coming undone

Darger 7: “Storm Brewing” or “Anita’s Feast”


the sun was going down & down & down
for the last time sun on this broad day you make us forget
dissolve in the crystal furnace
how serious we are as we dance in the lightning of your rhythm
like demented souls did we outwit you
dense night pouring over us & over the horizon
tidying us into pits of darkness where only the sky had hung before

Images from the internet, after a search for ‘Darger’: illustrations from Henry Darger, of Chicago, who has become famous for his posthumously discovered 15,145-page, single-spaced fantasy manuscript called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What Is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, along with several hundred drawings and watercolor paintings illustrating the story. John Ashbery’s poem Girls on the Run deals with the same themes, and its cover — it is a book — features the last image above, cropped.  — J.T.


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