And was going to ask Wimpy if he had bought any spinach.

"M'love," he intercepted, "the plains are decked out in thunder

Today, and it shall be as you wish." He scratched

The part of his head under his hat. The apartment

Seemed to grow smaller. "But what if no pleasant

Inspiration plunge us now to the stars? For this is my country."



Summary:
Drawing on the language pattern utilized here, it seems that there is an obscure rupture established between the poetic diction and allusions, between the elusive structure of this stanza and its open manifestations. What we expect, as readers, from the rhetoric does not match the content. In other words, it sounds that the poet here embraces a postmodern pastiche.

Lines:
First Line:
  • Expecting a coherent narrative.
  • Allusions:
  • o Wimpy: Supposedly, as represented in the cartoons, he stands for the ever-hungry man dressed as a businessman. We can draw on a Marxist reading, for instance. Wimpy might represent the superstructure of society. The more we attempt to instantiate Ashbery’s form and content, the more we fall into disjunction and anarchy as well. Strictly speaking, we struggle to contextualize the allusion somehow, but it doesn't fit into the overall meaning of the following lines. As such, the whole stanza resists a dominant meaning. The very use of ‘spinach’ ridicules the expected allusion to Popeye’s source of “powerful enlightenment” and the superman-like position that has the upper hand.
  • o The spinach: inspiration, power, and energy.
Second Line:
  • Whom is Wimpy addressing? Who is "she"?
  • Intercepted implies obstruction, interruption of communication; it suggests indeterminacy.
  • Decked out in thunder: Thunder is associated here with a loud utterance made to suggest ambivalence and irony as well. Why ‘decked out’? And why ‘in thunder’?
Third Line:
  • Scratched, as a redundant word, ties interestingly to other key words such as “seemed” and “ what if”. These key words imply obscurity and uncertainty.
Fourth Line:
  • One of Wimpy's reoccurring movements is him scratching his head. This could signify him thinking deeply or him not knowing what to do (feeling helpless). With that in mind, Wimpy resonates impotence and vagueness.


Fifth Line:
  • Seemed: uncertainty (notice the past tense).
  • Grows smaller: The apartment's size according to Wimpy "seemed" to grow, yet the growth is limited to the space. This could allude to capitalism and how lands are getting smaller and smaller by the growth and expansion of capital powers. Again, such allusion is prone to multiple connotations and representations.
Sixth Line:
Inspiration and stars: related to the allusion of spinach.
My country: politics? Whose country? Who is speaking? The bewildering interrogation posed by Ahsbery thwarts our expectations about the central allusion of Popeye the sailor as a whole when he says "
"But what if no pleasant



Inspiration plunge us now to the stars? For this is my country." What is striking about such interrogation is the fact that it lends itself to a witty satire implied here. Ashbery, seemingly, satirizes the romanticized idealism of capitalism and the American dream that happened to be commodified through sentimental hyperbolic zeal toward inspiration and progress, exactly like the one brought about by Popey's spinach and his heroic power. We conclude, then, that such capitalist enlightenment is ridiculed and questioned by Ashbery through alluding to Popeye's cartoonist persona.

___