TAR
YOU KNOW THE PHRASES THAT LEAD TO THOUGHT

You know the phrases that lead to thought
words that being said will linger in the air
moths circling in faint white paths around the light
a studio filled with young dancers as the sun goes down

it is all in the service of seduction of course
decades of attentive college girls across your desk
looking over at the furrowed brow of the great man
dark eyes burning with fevered knowledge

but it's really lust that lights your gaze
as always ideas merely the lubricant
making the seductive gears go around
music that drove the dance through the years

so they came and went and you wrote about a few
all those books from small presses that fill the shelves
so impressive when you are twenty leaves falling outside
autumnal Hudson valley light a backdrop for your lies

but let's just admit it you were thinking with your dick
the little head driving the show like it did in Homer's day
but why the shame in recognizing your ties with the past
Dionysian poet lecher drunk there are too few of you left

must you as old age comes now act as if love is the key
maybe a small part for you but domesticity doesn't fit your face
cobblestoned wine-burned rheumy in the eyes but sly
wily chanting satyr still dancing naked in the grove

there is no academic honor any better than this
and denying your life is no way to go the grave
perhaps aging is harder than it once seemed especially for the vain
but don't forsake your loins that's where your poetry began


Stephen Newton
STEPHEN NEWTON is Assistant Professor of English at William Paterson University
in Wayne, New Jersey, where he also directs the Writing Center. In his spare time he likes to sit in on electric guitar with friends playing in bars in the southern Adirondacks/Lake George/ Saratoga Springs area, and many years ago he was a night-shift janitor at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville,Tennessee. On his office wall at the university he has postcards of Tom Waits, Allen Ginsberg, James Joyce, Fernando Pessoa, Willam Burroughs, Chet Baker, Billy Holiday, Jack Kerouac, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, the Dalai Lama, Homer Simpson, and Elvis. Stephen Newton has had poetry and prose published in Downtown Brooklyn: A Journal of Writing, College English Notes, Bwe: Basic Writing e-Journal, and has work forthcoming in The Penwood Review and The English Record.