John Ashbery was recognized as one of the greatest 20th-century American poets. He won nearly every major American award for poetry. His books of poems include The Tennis Court Oath (1962), The Double Dream of Spring (1970), Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975) and Houseboat Days (1977). In 2008, the Library of America published John Ashbery: Collected Poems, 1956-1987.
Peter Feng is a poet and translator from Qingdao, China. He received a PhD in English Literature from Nanjing University in 2011, and since then he has been exploring the interconnections between poetry, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. He has translated a number of American poets, including elsewhere by Scott Alexander Jones and The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath (Shanghai Translation Publishing House). He is the author of Parallel Tongues, The Desert Swimmer, and Cruel Raven (co-authored with Sun Dong, Nanjing University Press). His poems appear in Poetry Sky, American Poetry Review, Big Scream, Grey Sparrow, Napalm Health Spa, and others.
You meant more than life to me. I lived through
you not knowing, not knowing I was living.
I learned that you called for me. I came to where
you were living, up a stair. There was no one there.
No one to appreciate me. The legality of it
upset a chair. Many times to celebrate
we were called together and where
we had been there was nothing there,
nothing that is anywhere. We passed obliquely,
leaving no stare. When the sun was done muttering,
in an optimistic way, it was time to leave that there.
Blithely passing in and out of where, blushing shyly
at the tag on the overcoat near the window where
the outside crept away, I put aside the there and now.
Now it was time to stumble anew,
blacking out when time came in the window.
There was not much of it left.
I laughed and put my hands shyly
across your eyes. Can you see now?
Yes I can see I am only in the where
where the blossoming stream takes off, under your window.
Go presently you said. Go from my window.
I am in love with your window I cannot undermine
it, I said.