You want to know what language fellatio
are. Why am I the only man you asked.
The rest were too busy making love
with you in the ways such words intend.
I can understand. There were women
I had to ask more than once
if they knew the Latin for cocksucking,
cuntlicking, . . . that’s the trouble
being a working stiff. You grow coarse
with vocabulary unbefitting a minor poet
in the making, or so my ambition tells me
makes me rise each day with an erection
and newfound energy at age seventy-one.
In memory I can’t find any place
but yours to go. You live in a house
on a hill called The Citadel. You keep
a small apartment there, the door opens
and closes from early till late at night,
the phone keeps ringing and then stops
and you are alone but with one last stop
to make before sleep. No need to go
into that. You were sad all seven years.
Women came around and asked to stay
"just a little while till I find my own place"
and I said no. There was one from a town
I was from. She took over from the woman
I stole from the mathematician, the one
Betty Ruth knew and called me to ask
if I would file for the divorce. And I did.
And the woman eloped with an old flame
from Honolulu, with or without a mumu,
I did not see her again until one stoplight
in Sunnyside was red and she crossed
the crosswalk holding a little boy’s hand.
She looked up, I stared back. She went on
to the sidewalk and did not look back.
I should have put my head out the window
and asked for my Bible back. You were
in the seat beside me. I didn’t bother.
But I’ve got my chronology all wrong.
It was then you went to The Citadel,
and only later did I find out why
it was not because you needed privacy.
I could tell you stories you never knew
I knew. Who told me? You, sleeping.
That’s not true. I was born in a city
with a reputation. No, not New Orleans
but Fort Smith, I had folks in my past
who frequented The Row by the river.
I knew lots of stories. They talked back
to me when you left for The Citadel
and one man’s long experience selling it.
As it is, we’ve both had two years Latin.
We have no excuse for staying home
save I’m too old to walk far, and you
are not happy staying home. I pick up
Virgil, Catullus, Juvenal and go back
to the boiler room, where I belong.
(3 October 2010)