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Arnold Klein


Meghan, don’t it seem insane,
With fifteen blocks between, we twain,
Though each is on the other’s brain
                                        And with no let up,
Like Burnham Wood and Dunsinane,
                                        Have never met up?

Five years ago, what made us balk
Was fifteen blocks—a nothing walk
I sometimes took, in hopes to chalk
                                        A Meghan-sighting;
Your suitor, not the chickenhawk
                                        Of your indicting.

I know the moeurs of this province
Demand that outraged gag-response.
But ask yourself what one first wants
                                        Who seeks a lover:
To be wanted—a nuance
                                        Those moeurs don’t cover.

There’s only one account that passes
When guys like me pay court to lasses:
The girl’s “harassed,” the heel “harasses,”
                                        Who’d maintain less?
And she, what else, as green as grass, is
                                        Wholly stainless.

Except you didn’t have to settle
For that account. You dodged the nettle:
The girl who had, back then, the mettle
                                        To have framed it,
Reduced her part in our duet, till
                                        She disclaimed it.

Forget how falsely you discount
Your own consent—how this account
Makes me a cooz hound, mad to mount
                                        Some maiden booty;
Forget the poet’s holy fount,
                                        Desire of beauty;

Forget those poems you’re making art from
Have got no planet else they start from
But your beauty—what, apart from
                                        Sheer conventions
Could later wean your once free heart from
                                        Its propensions?

True, the terms you framed our link in
Were all that you’d been trained to think in—
Puerilities kids these days drink in
                                        From their mothers;
And one so raised would, once they sink in,
                                        Have no others.

Your cohorts, too, no doubt rewarded
Your suffering all your predator did;
Your fiancé (who, talk of sordid,
                                        Ms. Goody-goody
Two-timed me with and dumped me for) did;
                                        What else could he?

You broke that off—the guy you pledged
Was “too controlling,” you alleged:
The nestling and the fully fledged,
                                        Again the quarry;
Exactly how your part was hedged
                                        In our story.

As I recall it, though, our fling
Was fought like boxers in the ring:
As round by round the bell went “Ding!”
                                        We each still hung on—
Two counterpunchers who won’t swing
                                        Until they’re swung on,

No more besetting than beset.
As I recall it, that duet
Was like how scorpions coquette,
                                        When each deploys in
Full body armor, stinger wet
                                        With deadly poison.

The one asymmetry between us
Was not “experience” and greenness.
If lame Hephaestus dares touch Venus,
                                        She allows him;
For him, the utter unforeseenness
                                        Of it wows him.

Talk about a broke piñata!
That handsome an inamorata
Who scorned (it seemed) the cant schemata
                                        Kids palaver—
You getta girl like that, you gotta
                                        Dare to have her.

It seemed. For whether buddies egged,
Or those schemata question-begged,
Or you, engagement fled from, pegged
                                        As double-dealings
My heart’s professions—you reneged.
                                        Well, no hard feelings:

It seems you have to first annex
To making love or having sex
Some “higher” interest—and this ex
                                        You doubted had one:
A, what shrinks would term, “complex,”
                                        Withal, a sad one,

Whose pathos I hear, like a catch,
In how you color each mismatch,
And how the emails you dispatch
                                        From your computer
Try desperately to re-attach
                                        Your quondam suitor,

Who gives you nothing in response.
So there we are—two soupirants
With fifteen stops between each wants
                                        To cross, but falters;
Each always in the other’s sconce;
                                        Noetic alters.