Halfway across Main at dusk
I stall in the flare of your headlights
You’re driving too fast with your hair
aflame and vodka soiling your breath.
But you stop in a stink of rubber
and scream about guerilla struggles
in lonely nations full of citizens
too exhausted to fall in love.
Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the former
Belgian Congo: you’ve been there,
and have lived in the dark all your life.
Shouting into your mobile phone,
you report the capture of one
sad fellow, an “army of one,”
as recruiting posters call him.
With my briefcase and tote bag full
of unreadable books I’m hardly
a threat to state security;
but tragic as Jocasta you slur
me into a strong landscape far
back in time, when grown men fought
barehanded for glory enough
to rouse drunken poets from stupors
and incite their eloquent praise.
You abandon your car in the street
and drag me to the Blue Trout bar
for a round of gray refreshment.
You confide that guerilla warfare
has lost its kick, that subversives
like me no longer excite you.
So you rake your gaze over men
young enough to marry your daughter,
but find them also lacking
the armor the classical hero
wears to ward off the mockery
that could drop him to his knees.
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Dogs Don’t Care (2022). His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.
EDITOR'S SONG PAIRING:
Modern Warfare by EDEN