The climate is pretty.
I wrote everything on it.
That’s the activity where it
gets relatively inauspicious.
And you were sitting there
in the night of life. It sure was good.
My favorite desserts were there.
And when they invite you, it’s like an important document
goes missing. I’ll give you an example:
a twelve-year struggle upstate, in
the slick atmosphere of the breakfast room.
It might have gotten stuck in her farthingale.
Otherwise no reply.
—John Ashbery (1927-), “As Someone Who Likes Travel,” fragments (New Yorker, 5/30/16)
To read Ashbery is to read English as a foreign language—which I mean as a compliment.
I love his approach to Mozart. He’s never fussy or mannered. He plays simply, directly—like a bird flying from tree to tree.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Piano Sonata No. 12 in F major (:07-), Fantasia in C minor (22:42-), Sonata No. 14 in C minor (39:54-); Friedrich Gulda (1930-2000), live, Germany (Munich), 1990
Mozart was a kind of idol to me—this rapturous singing . . . that’s always on the edge of sadness and melancholy and disappointment and heartbreak, but always ready for an outburst of the most delicious music.