From the Archives

Strangers May Kiss

John Ashbery
John Ashbery, Palette, collage, 2011. © Estate of John Ashbery, courtesy Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York.
John Ashbery, Palette, collage, 2011. © Estate of John Ashbery. Courtesy Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York.

It wouldn’t be the first time (either),
curvaceous, some of the art work
keeps spilling, and so on.

Don’t say anything.
(You always need to get somewhere,
civil engine,
some more dumb bunny cheesecake.)
Thanks for having me
slipshod and enjoy
his undistinguished underwear.

Literary schools and manners
was not mistaken about his
it got that way just the end
not after eleven o clock at night,
chubby accent.

Fact: I’m tempted to sort of slither in its path,
all that rot.
Where you going to hang it from?

Yes I suppose so and
I want you to get another one of those
from apparent disorder but
but kind of
even drink to this.
You probably won’t see us again.

Is it great being uncomfortable there?
We didn’t call it that.

John Ashbery was a poet whose many collections of poetry include Selected Poems, Flow Chart, And the Stars Were Shining, and Can You Hear, Bird.
Originally published:
September 20, 2021



Communalism in the Veld

Rethinking property in South Africa
Glen Retief


The Front House

Cord Jefferson


The Sublime Modes of Sheila Heti

The novelist as philosopher
Noreen Khawaja

You Might Also Like


The Brink of Destruction

Revisiting John Ashbery’s “Soonest Mended”
Edward Hirsch

From the Archives


John Ashbery


AIDS Elegies After Ashbery

Sam Huber


New perspectives, enduring writing. Subscribe to The Yale Review and receive four beautiful print issues per year.