The man in bed with me this morning is myself, is me,
The sort of same-sex marriage New York State allows.
Both men believe in infidelity.
Both wish they could annul their marriage vows.

This afternoon I will become the Evening Man,
Who does the things most people only dream about.
He swims around his women like a swan, and spreads his fan.
You can’t drink that much port and not have gout.

In point of fact, it is arthritis.
His drinking elbow aches, and he admits to this.
To be a candidate for higher office,
You have to practice drastic openness.

You have to practice looking like thin air
When you become the way you do not want to be,
An ancient head of ungrayed dark brown hair
That looks like dyed fur on a wrinkled monkey.

Of course, the real vacation we will take is where we’re always headed.
Presidents have Air Force One to fly them there.
I run for office just to get my dark brown hair beheaded.
I wake up on a slab, beheaded, in a White House somewhere.

Evening Man sits signing bills in the Oval Office headless—
Every poem I write starts or ends like this.
His hands have been chopped off. He signs bills with the mess.
The country is in good hands. It ends like this.

This Issue

September 27, 2007