Don Q. in Mahattan
–Biting the dust of ’01
Dining in Soho alone, a man
served by a girl with lip studs, nose ring,
and serpent tattoo uncoiling
from deep cleavage,
sees the new man of La Mancha,
in dim light across the room,
seated with his back to the street:
He topples a pepper mill with his fork
gesturing to his wife, Sancha,
vowing he’ll redeem New York.
Sancha smiles and re-sets the mill in place
among constellations of pepper stars
strewn across formica space.
Between them supper’s done:
spent dinnerware, filaments of flaked filo
circling half a buttered bun,
remnants of dense moussaka,
and that pepper mill now standing like a dustbowl silo
near languid cubes in tepid water.
Don (el Hombre), enemy of disorder,
sweeps a hand through this small universe
like a superanal patriot
and plows a thousand miniscule black galaxies
into his cupped palm
and dumps ’em on a plate.
He takes his tined baton
between forefinger and thumb
and sets a cadence in the atmosphere
thumping his undiffident drum.
Then Don, el futile hombre,
maestro of mishap,
conducts the ice and water glass
into long-suffering Sancha’s lap.