—after John Ashbery
Things are rough, I know, I said taking you out
had no strings attached, but it’s not often I see you
and wasn’t it you who whispered a smile
is a precious thing to waste?
So here the modus operandi greets us in a row
as you say it should, though not your cup of tea nor mine,
a punishment, like Greyhound (for lack of trains)
all part of your rollover-to-live-to-see-another-day plan
gone on umpteen years. I guess it might seem better
as the world closes in, stiffens, and at least
you dropped in from the sixth
and I borrowed your light nine to sink a birdie.
Who said I raised my voice? Sheesh, it wasn’t even your turn
just a penny opera, no mute scream could
breakdown the onslaught of Mack the Knife.
All in good fun even you say
like daffy-go-Bucky all top-down, robes flowing open
quite the monsieur de la maison, newspaper ruffled
and plop, a robin dives outside and audiences pirouette
on their bums to hear the upshot, pas du tout. Double sheesh.
So tell yourself we’re on the up and up
and the hologlobe spinning under our fingers will come around
to a lost island in the Pacific slowly sinking,
but no need to send in the llamas—
we’ve seen what that does. Try steering clear
of what makes you unhappy without letting it down.
See you when flights resume.
(Nov. 10, 2014)