The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

By Alan Shapiro

All of the pokey small town chicken-shit
scratching in the chicken-yard dirt
for power—

the public left hand conserving this
so that the private right hand
could develop that

while sweeping the ever-gathering homeless
under the downtown
welcome mat—

the gerrymandered and the jury rigged,
the zoned, oh, we were good at it,
weren’t we, Mr. Mayor,

your honor, you and I, we were
some team, never defeated,
never caught.

Our foreplay was the ploy
of values, the clean

of straight talk, and the flashing
ordinances that passed
in looks

between us in the council
chambers and before
the press.

We sought the sly impolitics
of love under the table
like a kickback.

Oh some of course suspected,
we had our enemies,
ex-wives, ex-

friends, and even the ex-
exes that had to pass
for friends.

Daily there were deals to broker,
palms to re-grease,
and files, so

many files to open and keep open
—I kept meticulous files—
I managed all of it

for you, sir, I managed everything,
I who now can’t manage
to move or speak.

If you could only see me here,
if you could visit—though
I know you won’t,

you couldn’t—what handler now
would let you?—but if
you could slip in

some night when hardly anyone’s
on duty, and could see
my nurse,

my handler, my chicken come home
to roost, I think the vision of her
would amuse you,

hymning her righteous ha-ha—I’m saved
you’re not, O Jesus my
loving savior—

while she washes down my body
in that rushed half assed
why bother

way of hers that leaves my legs exposed,
the johnny bunched up
around my thighs,

and the catheter, my last cocksucker,
running out from beneath the
covers shamelessly.


I have spent a lovely day in Gettysburg, first hiking around Devil's Den in Gettysburg National Park, then having lunch at a sandwich place and walking around the shops in historic downtown Gettysburg. We went to The Union Drummer Boy, a Civil War artifacts store that has original uniforms, medical kits, sets of dominoes and other items as nicely displayed as a lot of museums I've been in, plus we went to Dirty Billy's Hats, a ladies' costume shop, An Early Elegance with dozens of varieties of loose tea in jars, the old Gettysburg Hotel and the Wills House where Lincoln finished writing the Gettysburg Address after coming to the city by train. On the way back to my in-laws' we stopped at Hanover Shoe Farms to see the mares and foals.

The view toward Round Top at a snowy Gettysburg National Battlefield.

And the view at Devil's Den from below the stones.

The wooded areas had snow on the ground under the trees...

...and it lingered around the stones of Devil's Den.

Monuments on Little Round Top from the top of the hill.

One of the cannons that stand beneath...

...this famous old tree on the trail to Rose Woods.

And a couple walking their dogs on the road below the Devil's Den boulders.

In the evening we had Christmas dinner for my father-in-law's birthday -- Swedish meatballs, potatoes, lime Jell-o mold, herring -- and Paul made his father a cookie cake. Then we watched Mr. Bean's Holiday, which was completely hilarious, to my surprise because I can be up and down on Mr. Bean in general...I liked the interaction with the little boy, Willem Dafoe was utterly hysterical and I liked the sending-up of overly earnest self-absorbed cinema. Now we are all sitting around reading and looking at pictures and I am struggling to keep an internet connection on an inconsistent network. Happy President's Day if you have it off!

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