Two Poems By David Lehman

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Poem Ending with a Phrase from Federico Garcia Lorca

The last time I saw Lorenzo
he was wearing a blind man’s glasses
and holding the leash of a seeing-eye dog

though he isn’t blind
and he doesn’t have a dog
and his name isn’t Lorenzo but Bruce.

Who can explain why a man might dance
on the ledge outside his office
five flights above the Hudson River?

The city with five boroughs and two thousand bridges
fits on one side of the coin
my father gave me to give to a beggar.

It remains in my pocket as I look out the window
on the day of my old friend’s funeral,
and the stock exchange becomes a pyramid of dawns.

O my great river, treat me as you would a sailor!
I hear Harlem murmur through elevator shafts.
This is not hell. This is a fruit stand.

No one sleeps. Everyone dreams. And you, Walt Whitman,
bearded with butterflies, are eyed by virile comrades
pointing you out in bars: “He’s one, too.”

The Killer

The killer wants to go home with Steve
She looks great in tan pants on the Riviera
The killer helps the police solve the case
of the animal shelter queen
The killer went on a cruise with Steve
for their honeymoon but he got sunburned
and she had an affair with a married man
and came home alone.

The killer is not a serial murderer though he
has four of the five telltale signs.
The killer’s favorite singer is
The killer’s ordeal began in an alley with
two other drunken bums
The killer lets the phone ring.

The killer changed her lipstick from crimson to
something a little less overt.
The killer is wearing a short skirt.
The killer is a control freak.
The killer’s panty hose are in a twist.
The killer likes to say “carry on” as if she
were a Brit.
The killer is married to a twit.
The killer is a tigress riding on the back
of Steve’s motorcycle.
The killer has never been in this position before.

David Lehman’s New and Selected Poems is just out from Scribner.

You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at