With My Copy of “Horace in English”

This Father’s Day I
hear his voice in Francis Howe’s
pitch-perfect Horace

from a foxed Penguin.
“Spare not erasion”! Right-wing
and dreamy, Dad wrote

graceful English, but
his politics betrayed it.
Style is double edged.

The yellowing page
and brittle glue of this book
will amuse my son.

My Summer Job

Fit work for young men.
I spent my summers pruning
rich women’s gardens.

I’d stand up to stretch
from thinning out the ivy
and the whole bed glowed.

Fit work for young men.
Long hot empty afternoons,
the sun’s companion.


The shine of wet streets
again, smear of roses: re-
petition taken

in stride. A youth spent
dismissing others’ flesh for

privacies. But now,
my gait disturbed by verses,
I take it all in.


Who kept these photos
could not see evidence of
supervening love

in this stiff album.
How perfect the decorum
you kept by staring

at the camera.
Though uninvited, Love would
make an appearance

on occasion, sweat
slick your brow, blood swell your lips,
tongue, eyes, ears, failing —

I can see you now,
self-shaper, self-transcender,
Eros, undeceived.


Underpasses, stair-
wells, elevators — places
of assignation —

love needs no signage.
It comes to be when the time
arrives at let’s stop

stay awhile, noses
and lips interlocked in joy’s
plush infrastructure.

Now in Portland

The clover in the
grass takes the rain in stride, flat-
tened for now, ready

to spring back; the sun
has no intention to stay
away forever.

Who stays forever
anywhere? I’m’here now, wear
hoodies, skinny jeans —

ridiculous at
my age, standing in the rain,
watching the clover.

Ubi Sunt

Where is that raven
she whose white shoulders I would
not seize for better

or worse long ago?
This damp cold day, images
of Bath, Berkeley, Rome

in winter, where lean
desire and memory’s flesh
made a mess of me,

suggest themselves, but
for now I’ll accept as pledge
mist turning to rain.