El Dorado Poem by John Ashbery

John Ashbery

Rochester, New York

El Dorado

Rating: 4.0


We have a friend in common, the retired sophomore.
His concern: that I shall get it like that,
in the right and righter of a green bush
chomping on future considerations. In the ghostly
dreams of others it appears I am all right,
and even going on tomorrow there is much
to be said on all these matters, "issues," like
"No rest for the weary." (And yet—why not?)
Feeling under orders is a way of showing up,
but stepping on Earth—she's not going to.
Ten shades of pleasing himself brings us to tomorrow
evening and will be back for more. I disagree
with you completely but couldn't be prouder
and fonder of you. So drink up. Feel good for two.

I do it in a lot of places. Subfusc El Dorado
is only one that I know something about.
Others are recently lost cities
where we used to live—they keep the names
we knew, sometimes. I do it in a lot of places.
Brash brats offer laughing advice,
as though anything I cared about could be difficult
or complicated now. That's the rub. Gusts of up
to forty-five miles an hour will be dropping in later
on tonight. No reason not to. So point at the luck
we know about. Living is a meatloaf sandwich.
I had a good time up there.

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John Ashbery

Rochester, New York
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