I think this is one reason why Ashbery is often thought of as difficult or elusive. It can seem to readers either like there is nothing there, or that they are missing something. “The poem is sad, because it wants to be yours, and cannot,” he writes in another poem, “Paradoxes and Oxymorons,” which begins:
This poem is concerned with language on a very plain level.
Look at it talking to you. You look out a window
Or pretend to fidget. You have it but you don’t have it.
You miss it, it misses you. You miss each other.