Sunday, December 19, 2010

I like Ashbery

Yesterday I wrote (for me) a brief note on lists inspired by Eco's delightful The Infinity of Lists. One of the lists included is from Roland Barthes's lists of likes. Below is a partial, in-no-particular-order list of some of mine. Followed by a draft of a poem after reading one of my likes, John Ashbery.

Scott likes: Jung, Rilke, Whitman, Brueggemann, Psalms, Earl Grey Tea, Britten, Mahler, Henze, Bach, Cézanne, Rothko, Chagall, Dark Chocolate, Miró, Manet, Bolaño, Pema, Thich, Hollis, Red Hots, Carson, Kafka, Barthelme, Homer, Virgil, Auden, Ashbery, Tippett, Jesus, Buddha, Kali, Krishna, MacMillan, Joyce, Black Beans, Beckett, Pellegrino, Puccini, Verdi, Checkhov, Goethe, Hölderlin, Novalis, Berlioz, Tarkovsky, Virginia Peanuts, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Joyce, Friedrich, Chorizo, Venice, Licorice...

Scott may or may not like: Facebook, Vivaldi, Austen, Green Peas, Hindemith, Poseidon, Disney, Lettuce, Dickens, Rossini, Chai Tea, Mondrian, Hammerschmidt, Televison

After reading Ashbery

One must have a mind for all these
things, as if observation were not simply
preliminary or the end of all exploring
only to find the peak already eclipsed.
Ah well, there are other ranges to scale,
like the hands in contrary motion
scampering across the keys as
Lilliputians in some tale told
by that crazy uncle we all wish
would desist. But they return
wearing different costumes,
sometimes borrowed (actually rented,
but isn’t that splitting hairs?)
Where were we? Yes, the blue flowers
are perfect. The hedgehogs came too
late this season to dishevel the garden;
even the fennel is unbruised and
ever fragrant. Like a Tchaikovsky
waltz, she said his pick-up line
was smooth as.
Let’s dance, everyone.


It was as if we were caught in a
maelstrom of dysfunction, like a
family drama that could either
be a tearjerker or comedy, depending
on who was directing. We were talking
about the cats and what may or may not
be termed feline sensibilities and I had to
go and get all Victorian like the rank
and foul Anglophile I parade as.
Meanwhile the casserole was browning
and the roses perfumed what others
might call the drawing room. You
were about to anoint my head with oil or
break a bottle over that shining orb
of obstinacy to which you’d said I do.
And also with you, I said. ‘Till the seas
go dry, my dear. Love you. Mean it.
Please don’t cry.

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