weekend-readsPoem in the Manner of Vladimir Mayakovsky

David Lehman

Like a giant in slippers reading
the morning news of an event that
hasn’t yet happened I wear my robe
of authority like the majestic girth
of a great detective my job
to puzzle out how we got to this
stalemate with its tragic
inevitability can I retrace
the moves the sacrifice of a pawn
to support the bishop’s attack?
My backbone is my flute:
you play it, I sing, it hurts.
The words fly from my mouth
like people jumping off a bridge
in flames and in the city of my heart
that bridge is a temple
and I am a boy who sings in the choir
of the temple that is burning
so I cannot sing O mother forgive me

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