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December 26, 2019


Poem after Robert Herrick

If you want to write a goodbye poem to your 60s stalker,/
Who has a convertible and likes to pose with automatic guns,/
On big-time poetry sites, where women’s butts are featured,/
In living color, from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue,/
Don’t just say, “You smell like a new car, and I hate that smell,/
Because it makes me think of the 60s, and all the creepy Maoists/
I dated.” Say, rather, “You smell like you really need a big-hung/
Boyfriend, one you can have sex with while you both wear only/
.357 Magnum holsters, strapped across your chests, like Secret Agents/
In movies from the 1960s, even 70s.” That will likely make Mr. Cad/
So mad, he’ll start reciting Robert Herrick to you at great velocity,/
Shouting as he half gets out of the car, while trying to climb back/
In, begging you, “Oh, please, display thy breasts, my love, to me,/
In this ’67 Chevy, and there let me behold that circummortal/
Purity; between whose glories, there my lips I’ll lay, ravished/
In that fair Via Lactea, for my sex is like a really big gun.” Just as/
You put your cool flare heel in his face, and he tumbles out, into/
The nighthawk glow of a White Castle, in the rosy, pubescent dawn.

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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