The Memory Game

For a while we caught the spirit of things as they had drifted in the past.
Was it for this we eschewed attention-getting moments
in the plaza after the sun finished sulking?

It all happened long ago –
Today it’s clear the rent has come due again.
It’s only a shred, really, a fragment of life
It will be over in a minute, you said.
Still at it, friend?

Amorous ghosts will pursue us for a time,
Once that happens you can forget the context
you will leave empty-handed

Who knew it would be this silly, and so dense?
Prop up “the meaning,”
let there be some refreshing
Gents, off on a new tangent.

O I tell you,
It’s quite simple, really:
Wait – suddenly I can’t think of any!
And he was lost, gibbering on the coast of
bright nights, lit sea, buttered roofs, dandelion breath.

Pleasant memories are just that.
Would you say those figures are accurate?
Why not? I’m game.

Cento from poems by John Ashbery

(Sources: To Be Affronted/ Streakiness/ Feverfew/ Opposition to a Memorial/ For Now/ Like a Photograph/ One Evening, a Train/ Mottled Tuesday/ Old-Style Plentiful/ Cliffhanger/ Yes, “Senor” Fluffy/ The Inchcape Rock/ So, Yes/ La Bonne Chanson/ Feast or Famine/ Imperfect Sympathies/ The Black Prince/ Forwarded/ Thrill of a Romance/ The Binomiel Theorem/ The Recipe)

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