When the Woman in the White Sweater at the Cancelled Charles Simic Reading Asked If I Was David Shumate

Michael Brockley



I said, Call me Dave.  She stopped, spellbound, as I regaled her with unpublished tales of Neruda’s suitcase.  With Dali’s recipe for sautéed hummingbird.  Valentines smoldered in her eyes as I recounted the erotic awakenings I experience from eating pomegranates.  Soon, we were Elvis and Ann-Margaret dueting on Viva Las Vegas between picnics with the Japanese Zen poets and vacations to the Island of Haiku.  I introduced her to my friend Sancho Panza.  Circumstances being what they were, I resorted to the occasional chicanery.  I pawned my autographed copies of High Water Mark and The Floating Bridge with the incriminating photograph of the bona fide poet on the back of each book.  I rented a Post Office box.  But I had to write every day or she became suspicious.  So I composed a poem about Emily Dickinson’s blind date.  An ekphrastic response to Night Hawks.  Once my sweet demanded a poem about making love on Lorca’s Ferris wheel.  For the sake of appearances, I started reading Kafka.  Adopted the wardrobe of a prose poet.  These days, we pretend to make love in bomb shelters and practice playing air accordions.  At workshops, I advise my blocked students to write about Nazis.  My love plum and I shop for aphrodisiacs in Gomorrah, basking in the luxuries of my profession.  I have one complaint.  I maxed out my credit cards buying mannequins.




Michael Brockley has published poems in Indiannual, Indiana Review, Ball State Forum, River City Review and Flying Island. He is the author of the chapbook ,Second Chance, that was published by Barnwood Press.  Mike lives in Muncie, Indiana.