When You Are Old
If the songs we knew should live as long as you live,
and in your late hours, you hear them
bellowing from a tienda or on a bus, blaring,
you’ll think of the boys who danced them with you first.
The places we’ve been you’ve been before
and you’ll go again, with other men,
each visit erasing a little more of me
until I am less than a palimpsest.
Even the kisses we shared will be eclipsed
by fierier lips.
How will you remember me
when you are old and gray and tired?
Will I be forced to pull my head from the stars
and humble poetry by banging on your door?
Prince Charming’s Confession
I never thought my father would agree
to our marriage. She was, after all,
little more than a servant girl.
But he was eager, as he announced, to see me settle down,
Though i think the real reason was because
he suspected my secret
and was desperate to conceal it
in the white smoke of matrimony.
I should have skipped town before my wedding day,
but I figured she, who grew up scrubbing floors,
would want what I wanted:
a top-down revolution,
pearls and porcelain to the peasants,
pitchforks in the hearts of the powdered and pampered,
and would pardon my lack of interest in producing an heir
in exchange for an equal share of power.
But when, on our honeymoon night,
I decried the proletariat’s pain,
she looked at me as if I was a talking mouse.
She cracked a smile and said,
“Come to bed, my liege,
and show me some noblese oblige”
I had to plead first-night jitters
and a lingering injury from a polo shot
too close to my groin.
She sulked in satin sheets
as I paced on the patio.
At last, I heard liberating snores.
With money, it’s easy to flee.
I stopped to pick up Prince Eric
at the border,
Though now he tells me he might be bi
and he kind of, sort of, sometimes misses Ariel,
despite her briny smell.
Back home, Cinderella’s turned tyrant;
her old lady’s in jail, she ordered her step-sisters guillotined.
My old man is living out his twilight in a cottage
behind the castle.
She has him over for tea on Tuesdays,
to pick his mind on affairs of state,
and while she treats him with the respect
an ex-monarch in his dotage deserves,
she can’t help but joke about his misfortune.
She told him she wouldn’t call herself queen.
She was saving the title, she said,
But what do I care?
I’m sitting by the pool, I’m drinking a daiquiri,
And her comes Lancelot,
Shedding his knight’s hosiery
and giving me the eye.
You tell me: Who has the fairy tale ending?