“Federico García Lorca, Coney Island, 1929,” by Paul Muldoon

Audio: Paul Muldoon reads.

 
 

1

For the moment a wave will make a splash
as if it might be sent to test
the waters where so many wail and gnash
their teeth and beat the breasts

they’ve inadvertently bared.
For the moment a wave will make a splash
and no expense be spared
in a country so brash

even the kids talk trash
as they line up for the Tornado or Cyclone.
For the moment a wave will make a splash
that will chill them to the bone

when they might otherwise succumb
to sunburn or a heat rash,
the banker waiting patiently alongside the bum
for the moment a wave will make a splash.

2

One of these days the guy with a mustache
who’ll have tried to put his stamp
on Europe’s beaches will look back on the clash
of armies as the Little Tramp

looks back on his golden age.
One of these days the guy with a mustache
will begin to rage
against those who’ve had the temerity to lash

out at him with a sabre and slash
him like a Tudor doublet.
One of these days the guy with a mustache
will have met

his end and sit in an abandoned circus ring
somewhat reminiscent of the gash
left by a howitzer. He’ll be taking a downswing
one of these days, the guy with a mustache.

3

Until then we’ll all quite happily pay cash
for a tintype print
of a bathing beauty sporting a sash
as a stick of peppermint

sports its striped apparel.
Until then we’ll all quite happily pay cash
on the barrel
for a barrel of sour mash,

part of the most recent cache
of spiritous liquors spirited here from Quebec.
Until then we’ll all quite happily pay cash
rather than write a check

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