“Portrait de Madonna; mère de mes fils, vendredi soir” (Madonna portrait; mother of my sons, Friday night)

After some ongoing, sad-eyed cajoling
you agreed to a Friday night date night
not of your choosing or comprehension
posing for nervous artist and sketch pad

you acquiesced to your best black pumps,
resolute: no clenching of rose in teeth –
concession gladly made by your love-struck
middle-aged, middle-class, modicum talent

Renoir with shaky charcoal pencil, prop
linen pad and still skeptical, self-consciously
reclining, propped-on-solitary-elbow model
in the candle-lit tableau before me surpasses

that of my very imaginative faux-artist’s
mind’s eye, having seen you as I have this way
a thousand times…but never quite like this

You are Louvre worthy; a study in pure form
glowing alabaster in flickering votive light minus
gilded frame, stay behind the velvet rope policy
shaky charcoal pencil strokes begin to quiver

across gray newsprint as this erotic charade
plays itself out, much as my artistic talent did
many years before the twenty I have known you
yet you graciously allow me this opportunity;

me – sans beret, palette; you, lacking not shoes
and all I can put on canvas is a stick figure
devoid of any of your revealing, inviting contours,
leaving all to the imagination, nothing to chance

Mental matinee

Less frequently but with far more
purpose, much sharper focus than
my younger, more myopic days

my workday mind meanders from
the daily mundane to stray to
tantalizing, sometimes R-rated
thoughts, possibilities for later

cerebral erotica starring my oh-so-
vixenish-after-twenty-years wife

My mind’s eye squints to concentrate
on the unfolding cinematic epic in my
head when I abruptly utter aloud a
wariness to ‘still be able to do that’
to the quizzical stare of a co-worker

While my mind goes where it always
has, reality makes a bar-close hook-up
with regrettably lowered expectations

shorthand

text wife: ‘Dory?’ It
cannot also be ‘hunky’
as I am elsewhere

So, I call…

Her night-sultry voice
achieves what a closet of
negligees cannot

Imponderably tasty (Love is… #18)

Love is like peanut butter

some prefer it smooth, glides
easily along the bread

others like it chunky, rough,
more substance, texture,

nothing comes easy, tears the
bread up from time to time

D-M-V (Love is… #30)

Love is a driver’s license photo

You know who the person in
the picture is – sort of, maybe

you think it is you – your glazed
eye, mug-shot provenance
makes even you double-check

triple-check yourself in the
mirror the morning after

facial expression defying
logical description;
contorted hybrid of happiness
and electrocution-by-chair

It was no innocuous clerk
that issued you this credential,
telling you with mock-courtesy to
have a good day, thank you

you walk away from the counter
new credential proof of who/what,
there are no retakes here

approval from the Department of
Misanthropic vehicles

General admonition

Reserved seating

this is not first-come,
first-served

you cannot get a ticket
from a scalper

only from my personal
box office

not ‘second-run’ house
my heart is the first-run
feature now playing

only the latest and best

Sit back, relax.
Enjoy the show.

And please keep your
dirty feet off of the seats
in front of you.

Salonica, goneica

She loves me, she loves me not

Played that game as a kid, for fun
with and without the flower,
played it frequently later, for keeps

Won once or twice

I have over picked my life’s quota
of prophetic daisies, come out
on either side of the nursery rhyme

sometimes the right verse, wrong time

It blossomed, it went to seed
It blossomed, it went to seed
It blossomed, it went to seed

Same song, rarely heard second verse

Heat you don’t want to beat

Summer is when you most
think of her, want her
hot, sultry, at times stifling

melting into yourself, sweat
trickles into places that spark
imagination, irritate, perturb

undeniably sensual, cursable,
so memorably bemusing

she will return, as always, the
bittersweet equinox of her

Era or epoch

You can use a sundial
as easily as a Rolex
an egg timer will
perform like a Timex

count the days with
an abacus or hourglass
leather-bound planner
or electronic gizmos

all that matters is the
sun rises, the sun sets
and you are spending
your lifetime with me