After Rimbaud

Hedged in by the miserly plaza grass
everything just so, the flowers, the trees,
Thursday nights, heat-choked middleclass
wheeze under the weight of jealousies.

The marching band plays a piccolo waltz,
helmets tottering round the garden's rotary--
parading up front, all dignified schmaltz,
from his own watch chain swings a notary.

Landlords score cracked notes with pince-nez--
bloated clerks drag dates of the same bloated size,
& wherever they go (primping popinjays,)
they flutter as if trying to advertise--

Retired shopkeepers in park bench committees
poke at the sand with their canes, debate
in absolute earnest the latest treaties,
take snuff, & keep talking--"To reiterate..."

Round buttocks stretched taut across his seat,
a burgher, bright buttons, a Flemish waistband,
enjoys his Onnaing, its tobacco-like peat
spilling over the top (contraband)--

Made amorous by the song of trombones,
the fresh recruits simper amidst flowerbeds,
roses in their teeth, naive simpletons,
cajole nursemaids by pawing babies' heads.

Unruly as a student, I chase after sprightly
nymphets under chestnut trees: they catch on,
bemused, & turn my way; not impolitely,
their eyes overflow with indiscretion.

I say nothing, but simply continue staring
at necklines embellished by wisps of hair, follow
beneath the flimsy corsages they're wearing,
their shoulders curved toward back's divine hollow.

I discover their boots hidden underneath,
reconstruct their bodies, just as the fever grips.
I amuse them, they admit under their breath--
My brutal desires stick to their lips.

by Mike Alexander

Mike Alexander orchestrated the Panhandler Press Chapbook Award contest last year, & appeared in The Weight of Addition, an anthology of Texas poets by Mutabilis Press.

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