John Ashbery

Image by Miriam Berkley

Just Walking Around

Just Walking Around

What name do I have for you?
Certainly there is no name for you
In the sense that the stars have names
That somehow fit them. Just walking around,

An object of curiosity to some,
But you are too preoccupied
By the secret smudge in the back of your soul
To say much, and wander around,

Smiling to yourself and others.
It gets to be kind of lonely
But at the same time off-putting,
Counterproductive, as you realize once again

That the longest way is the most efficient way,
The one that looped among islands, and
You always seemed to be traveling in a circle.
And now that the end is near

The segments of the trip swing open like an orange.
There is light in there, and mystery and food.
Come see it. Come not for me but it.
But if I am still there, grant that we may see each other.

from Selected Poems (Carcanet, 1998), copyright © John Ashbery 1998, used by permission of the author.


John Ashbery

John Ashbery Reading from his poems

1The Instruction Manual

2Some Trees

3For John Clare

4Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape

5What Is Poetry

6At North Farm

7The Songs We Know Best

8Landscape (After Baudelaire)

9Just Walking Around

10More Pleasant Adventures

11Hotel Lautreamont

12This Room

13If You Said You Would Come With Me

14A Linnet

15The Bobinski Brothers

16The History of My Life

17A Nice Presentation

18Disagreeable Glimpses

19Theme Park Days

20View of Delft

21The Lightning Conductor

22I Asked Mr. Dithers Whether It Was time Yet He Said No to Wait

23Chinese Whispers

24Local Legend

25Sir Gammer Vans

Books by John Ashbery