I Don’t Sing Like Humphrey Bogart
I would fight for you
Like Gen. George Smith Patton Jr.
(With a .38 caliber)
In World War II
Or the Spartan King Leonidas
No I wouldn’t.
I lie because I think
I am in love with you.
It’s your voice
And the questions which you ask.
Don’t smile at me this Wednesday:
I might snort cocaine like Sigmund Freud
Or take quaaludes.
Tell me about your daughter’s debts
And your rotten, rotten job.
I will think sordid thoughts
While we eat chocolates from Paris,
And I will try to compose in my mind
A serious poem about the economy.
Then I’ll fend off thoughts of the mortal sins
Which I was taught to confess in childhood.
We’ll watch “Miller’s Crossing.”
We’ll watch reruns of the “Johnny Carson Show.”
I will not speak of love,
For that would mean I am Humphrey Bogart,
And I am not.
In the end you will tell me to go,
And I will take my tattered coat,
My soul, from the hook and leave.
Alone, I shall curse and gesture toward the inscrutable moon,
And I shall reach into my brown pockets
For some empty and crinkling packets of bonbons.
By 3:24 a.m., I will be home,
Thinking that, today, I should vacuum my apartment.