Un Poema de Un Mil Lays

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Charlie Gravina

I admit it, fellas
I was kind of jealous
That you all got to hold
The great poetess’s hand
Among other sweet things
That Love often brings.

Yet not as bothered, I
By half
As the lot of you.

What anguish did this
Maelstrom kittenish
Upon your clever hearts?

And when you did part,
Was it for her love, or Love
Or for her art, or Art
That you mostly yearned
Or were you unconcerned?

Good sirs, do boast
I have to know.

To see, wide-eyed,
The splendid Muse
Flush in the face
Of one’s beloved
Is most divine
I know it, too.

Yet who among you
Learned boys
Knew you kissed in vain?

Whose lapels were stained
With the tears of his longing?

Did you know that her refrain
Would ring in your ears
For the coming years
And then beyond?

To have tangled your fingers there,
In that red seahorse nest of hair
Feeling that your cast was true,
You’d caught the mermaid who
For so long you had sought;
Returning laden with every man’s
Richest booty, that salty treasure,
Hidden from mortals
By the mischievous Nereids
Presented at your sandy feet
By Neptune’s favorite daughter
Dripping wet and indiscreet.

Sailors, I give a full salute
For the notes you tickled
To sweeten the eternal sound
Of your immortal fish-wife’s flute.
O, that I had not been born so late
I’d have dined on coastal Maine’s
Freshest catch o’ the day, ravenously
I’d have sunk my lovesick teeth in, too
Almost as sick and for as long as you.

Yet now she smiles and reclines with me
Yes, it’s true, your dear doth with me-lay
Right here, upon my nightstand where
My prized copy of Savage Beauty
Stays, containing secrets that Ms. Milford took
I couldn’t help to open it and look
Just like you with your five feet of treasure;
And so I know some things now, too
That perhaps you’d all hoped to know
Yet, siren’d and ensnared, never knew.

Like how she felt about you, and you, and you
And why you two were finally through;
Yet I can keep these secrets, gents,
For me, fairy dust is safely spent
For you have all become immortal, you see
Having loved with all your hearts a goddess, she;
You have left to fellas like me, and to posterity
A far more glimmering, shiny, and rich legacy
Than any box of hidden treasure that book can be
Or for any with a touch of mere mortal jealousy;
That is, someone like me.

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