ISSUE  1   2   3   4   SUBMIT

The Haves

John Ashbery

Many there were that.
There were many who that.
Many did that to what.
Many undid that to what.
Many there were worse than that.
To undo that many did that.
More of an obstacle to this than that
where the upcoming is done to that.

The undone is done is that.
They are speaking to what is done
not left on the stove.
The done is that to that done.

There were many who did this and that,
meanwhile were many who undid that.
The undone undid the that.
The crisis under the batter’s hat.

Do you manage a common if?
If so why is the crisis that?
Who did the crisis there?
Why is the crisis after my time that.

Ordinarily men go around
seeking wedgies the corner is out.
They this and why and in this bat
an eyelash to be better than that
on the day that.

And that was all a better than that day had that
unto the jousting which was unto a way down that.
They mortared the way under the man hat
that wanted to under a bill be that that.

In London just now is cold.
In London just now a gull spring
in London on the back of the bat
in London on the back of that.

When they and London remove the bat back
the bat backer became the bat back.
The butt packer begat the back pack
under lest the noise disturb those that bat back.

In the backing the true bat resides
under a cleft the cliff nose
gannets nosed underside.
The cliff-size size briar sizes up size,
decides size is lies under briar thighs.

That was a lot of that and lack
come down the stair decorum
and lack of reasonable store bin
under the store the straw was been.
Me like methink it all past being
and beyond into the been that he sinned,
the being that has seen
under the hedgerow greens as feline
is opposed to oppressed being been
and never two of us no no more we’ll have been.

The barn exploded.
The big store ripped apart.
Gravel on the lawn made its mark
yes that and festoon of grit in the sky
while the riders came riding by
and nobody was appointed to fill the exam
no others why no other have ever been
why the irritated sky
and we’ll never be the fly
not two states ever to fly by

and no more store no more in store by the fly
they fly by and take just as your daddy did
and stand by the chest

just make sure to be to the thigh
came crawling across clock’s tempest.

from Chinese Whispers, copyright (c) 2002 by John Ashbery. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Georges Borchardt, Inc. and the author.