the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Lee Upton

Dinner Theater

"The Battle with the Athenians, to be sung
By an Athenian Eunuch to the harp."
— one of the rejected entertainments in A Midsummer Night's Dream

If you don't want me to sing
you could be stuck with
"The riot of the Tipsy Bacchanals,

Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage."
Okay? And that would never do
given the way any crowd takes a cue

from celebrity violence
But if you care to hear a harp,
and you're not in heaven or a brunch,

I'm the one to introduce you to
centaurs with hooves of enormous proportions
like badger caves. Okay?

That thing about me being a eunuch —
that came from Publicity.
So why not take a chance

on my tribute to men-horses who loot,
and perform as their own mounts? Okay?
I mean: Why don't you just let me sing

what I want to sing about?
Even though I'm outraged my song's so obscure.
That must be the fault of Marketing.


When I Came to the Table

People still were seated,
talking easily.
Nothing was left to eat.
The birds baked in the pie
had pecked through the crust.
In a little mound
at the table's center
beaks quivered.
Don't take for granted your everyday luck.
Choose loneliness carefully.



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