Opened Planisphere at random, in search of inspiration. The thought was that if I could set my needle down, fall into Ashbery's cadences, 33 rpm, con-
versational voice, heartbeat, breathing, maybe something would come. We'll see.
The book fell open at pages 48-49.
The Later Me
shrinks from encounters with the earlier one,
you know, that one. The one we don't speak about
except occasionally between Thanksgiving and New Year's.
A long time plotting, and he's written out
of the sequel. We gave him a pleasant death.
Maybe he'll be back soon,
we hope not. The china is all converted,
so we can dress together. Why a meeting was
never convened until yesterday remains unexplained,
along with much else. We thought it was tears.
Sitting alone in an open boat tells you a lot
about discipline. Any wrongdoing will be overlooked or punished.
James McNeil Whistler, Symphony in Grey and Green: The Ocean, 1866, oil on canvas, The Frick Collection (curatorial notes here)