Mennonite Poetry Home | Leonard Neufeldt



Covent Garden

Attention thrust like an immigrant
into the public sweat of anonymity,
disorder of bodies, and a raw gargle of sounds
you want to agree with despite jet-lag
catatonia, the threat of evening rain,
and a cue across the street. Pirouette
of Bahama-white boat shoes,
calf-length trousers black as the high-hitch
of suspenders, and twists
by two chalk faces stutter-juggling
even as longing gives notice next to you:
long-limbed singers, metronomed
arias and duets from Cosi Fan Tutte,
the orchestra a finger-fidgeting electric
keyboard almost aced by a pigeon spooked away
by the gritty havoc of a cell-phone
argument behind you. Into the upturned hat
a Drury Lane drunk’s largesse, pennies
nameless as your bank withdrawal
in a pocket of the coat your daughter donated
last week to her charity auction,
a matter still to be worked out

The opera house and yawning Transport
Museum may want to offer other streets
and directions from tomorrow or the London
of last time in order to find you
with a Mozart of pure play, mordents and trills
spot-on, less face-up juggling,
body not going wrong as yours, short breath
felt in passersby fashionably dressed
or plain as breakfast porridge and kippers
and lacking any desire to hide
their perfect grace as they look your way




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