Michelangelo’s poems

What I find serious
is losing ground: it’s the plaintive voice
of the singer on my old stereo;
the book of Michelangelo’s poems
bought at a garage sale for a dollar
which still has its dust jacket
and a name in linked writing
over the frontispiece.

It’s easy enough to find these things
if you enter into the search, not like
when Schliemann set out for Troy
with a copy of the Iliad in his trunk
and only a rough idea where to dig

aaaaaaaaaa―but would anyone care now
if you bragged of finding a necklace
once worn by a girl called Helen?

For so long I thought I was in time,
and now so completely out of it
I’m tempted to find a pirate shirt
and loll about on hard benches
smoking opium from a wooden pipe

which seems a better option
than wearing my pants low
or taking photos of myself smiling
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa    ―Michelangelo
never did that; the fashion then
was for sonnets, which he wrote
when he wasn’t working, when he was
a little melancholy, unsure if he was loved
and the world’s creeping indifference
something he was struggling with.


Published in Poetry NZ Yearbook, 2017.