David Lehman

Poem in Three Parts 


Some dictators who favor military garb

deserve to be hanged I guess but brag

about it I wouldn't as one who opposes

capital punishment and supposes

it's possible to hold contradictory ideas

in the mind and function, etc., aides

permitting. I am dictating into a phone.

Does that me a dictator? Nope. No hope

for the mighty, no rest for the wicked.

Sooner or later everyone feels dicked.


"You got me crying again," Lee Wiley

sings. She asked me to reconcile

the opposing statements I made and

I did what I usualy do I shrugged

and shy asked "Do I have to?" It's

like defining "the Soviet experiment"

in fifty words or less it can be done but

I'd rather meditate on a number

the number seven for example

seven days in a week and on

the seventh day he rested

in the seventh heaven.


The dictator wrote

novels but the poet

didn't dictate foreign policy.

Is that, as Peggy Lee sang,

"all that there is"? 


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