For Ashbery

This poem is dedicated to the process
Of being processed.  The process of the poem.
Did your parents ever choose
A pair of overalls for you,
Or were you naked underneath
The blanket of some Greek
Logician?  I want to wear my hair
Back in a jet-black ponytail,
When the sun comes down.
When I'm reminded of a story
That I never heard,
But you remember well enough: The man,
The woman, and their feelings, then
A picture of them picturing
themselves.

Less than almost half my dream
Came bubbling through this percolated pen;
When I do wake up remind me where
The reader ends, the poem ends,
The poet disappears.
Every word will have a way
Of crawling underneath your skin,
And once you let the adverb in
He'll whistle tunes you know, but cannot name.
The same is true for me.
I wish I wish I wanted
Something else, and yet this poem crumbles
Like a cookie that's been sogged with milk.
The words chased away
By exclamations from beyond the page,
While grammar eats itself each afternoon,
Choking on the junction of conjunctions.
The poet signs his name
Reads revises edits and deletes.
This poem is the process of itself.
This poem is the dreamer
and the poet is the dream.

-Neal Miller, 1994



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