Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sydney Lea: To Sydney Lea, Whom I Found Online

Your name is mine exactly, weird spelling and all. However,

I’m male, not in my twenties, and if I was ever hot,

No use to pretend so now. Do you get enough modeling jobs? 

You are surely young and stunning. And yet I find myself wondering

If you’re ever a little embarrassed by the near-porn poses you strike.

.

You must get tired of requests from witless strange men to meet up.

I’m not sure how come I believe you aren’t what they hope you are. 

I even infer you’re respectful of yourself, perhaps even modest.

You don’t know me–how would you?– but what about Sydney Lea, 

Female too, the author of Cowboy Interrupted–

Which of course I didn’t write and am not inclined to read?

.

The book’s cover features its own soft-pornographic image: 

Said cowboy, visible only from jaw to huge-buckled belt,

His denim shirt unbuttoned to reveal impossibly etched 

Abdominal muscles, which seem a must now for macho erotics. 

I’ve known some real-life cowboys, but none ever dressed like that.

Montana, Wyoming, Dakotas: the weather’s rarely conducive.

.

That Sydney, Australian composer of steamy romance novels, 

Doesn’t imagine her hero interrupted, you’d likely agree,

From castrating calves or whatever.  Maybe you’ve read from her oeuvre.

I don’t mean to get in touch with her. It’s just in a poem

That I do so here with you. I’m only a happy old grandpa

With a longtime wife who would give you a very good run for your money

.

For looks, when I married that girl– like you, just 27.

In my eyes she’s still as lovely, within as well as without,

And trust me, that’s saying something. I don’t expect a response.

I was simply intrigued that our names shared spellings, first and last.

I bet at least one of mine will be carved all wrong on my headstone.

I won’t care. The time for maintaining pretense will be long past.

.

In fact, you make me think I should scrap any pose right now.

Thank you. If only I’d thought to do so when I was your age.


Sydney Lea was Poet Laureate of Vermont from 2011-2015. His most recent collection of poems, No Doubt the Nameless, is available from Four Way Books. 

Sydney Lea
Sydney Lea

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