Old Torso at the City Museum
(After Rilke’s Archaic Torso of Apollo)
by Paul Dickey
I do not know, sir, what happened to his head—
the eyes were turned to cash like market fruit?
And now the old hump glows in schemes of bread
to fool the pawnster who’d select profit
to art and light. If not, would I alone
be standing here and ogling the rock’s breast,
checking out the hips and thighs of yeah, a stone,
suppressing snickers at the dude at rest?
From what I see, the relic is damaged goods,
not worth a patron’s call to wake the mayor,
and not a thing they’d toss a dude in jail for.
Though shysters can bust you out with lies or knife,
these eyes know you. I slide to home and hoods,
before the heat arrives to change my life.
Paul Dickey’s full length poetry manuscript, They Say This is How Death Came Into the World, was published by Mayapple Press in 2011. His poetry has appeared recently in Verse Daily, Rattle, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Mid-American Review, Midwest Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review and online at Linebreak, among other online and print publications. A poetry chapbook, What Wisconsin Took, was published by The Parallel Press in 2006. See his webpage for more information.