Limitations (Doggerel Remix 2003)

Ceramic cups crack on tables
Lowell would rewrite in a fable
of bored urbanites instead of mammals.
O he’d begin, soft, to intimidate
with the Greek vocative, long obsolete.
I’d gawk at the brightness of his diction
laugh at the arrogance of his fiction
And my jaw would drop. I think of my head
whence my ambitions, a farce, should have fled.
The steam-engine sound of hot white vapours
dances around the fat barista’s breasts.
She pours hot milk on black Sumatran brew
and spills white froth on her camel jodhpurs.
Lowell would give her a name, grand and old,
like De Witt Clinton, Hoes, or Vanderpoel
Of strange origins and split-second force
hung heavy on history’s family tree.
The sound of morning, meaning still far-fetched,
begins here. The date on the wall, Roman,
smiles and nods its dark head: Lowell is dead.

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