A woodpile and a fence,
grass, a hedge, a screen of trees . . .
I wish I had romantic neighbors
to talk about, like the lady
Yeats speaks of. When she was offended
by a farmer, her serving man
ran out with the garden shears
and brought her the farmer’s ears
in a little covered dish.

I have no man to serve me,
but once, offended by the lout
who lives across the street,
I quarreled with him, loudly.
When his wife put her head out
and said, “Louis, I don’t like your language,”
I replied, on the moment’s thought,
“And I don’t like your face.”
We haven't been troubled by them since.

Yeats created Hanrahan,
the mighty lecher. What
lust-driven, legendary man
shall I summon? Where we live
there are no legends, only gossip.
Yet the great matter of Troy
that ended with a whole town burning
began with an inch of skin
between a woman's skirt and stocking.

I give you my friend Roger
who recently left Denise
and is living with Diane
in a motel in Florida.
Watching daytime television . . .
Mosquitoes and tractor trailers
keeping him awake, making his heart race,
like a clashing of shields
and swords, and flights of arrows.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 9 Number 4, on page 42
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