My Erotic Double
by John Ashbery
He says he doesn’t feel like working today.
It’s just as well. Here in the shade
Behind the house, protected from street noises,
One can go over all kinds of old feeling,
Throw some away, keep others.
Between us gets very intense when there are
Fewer feelings around to confuse things.
Another go-round? No, but the last things
You always find to say are charming, and rescue me
Before the night does. We are afloat
On our dreams as on a barge made of ice,
Shot through with questions and fissures of starlight
That keep us awake, thinking about the dreams
As they are happening. Some occurrence. You said it.
I said it but I can hide it. But I choose not to.
Thank you. You are a very pleasant person.
Thank you. You are too.
Passing the Frontier
By Pierre Martory
Translated by John Ashbery
The yellow line could be seen for as long a time
As the highway desired
And if you fell asleep at the wheel
It fulgurated in the dozing soul
Like a brutal revelation
That allows you not to feel
In the dream’s snapshot
Your brain getting smashed
Against the milestone or the windshield
It was an ideal line
Crowned with horizontal blue
That unwound day after day
Like a clothesline
Flags and scalps and washed-out roses
Our countries our combats our wars
Mingling lassitude with involuntary starts
A gymnastic in disorder
That sickened our hearts