Vox Populi

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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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