It’s easy to find the figures
for Manet’s Olympia
in Hyde Park, even
on this Thursday afternoon
in the new millennium.
They are glazed in light
on the green lawn before
the bridal trail, its equestrian
strollers kicking up a rusty cloud
of dust. A place to see
And be seen, nature
in black tie, manicured and mannered.
The only missing piece
is the naked girl. The French
seem to produce them
As other men produce cigarettes.
Here, in this park, 20 years ago
my ex-wife and I argued. So let’s
make her ghost the naked girl.
She is perhaps the only naked woman
I know who can keep this poem
from becoming prurient. Funny word
that. So now I am there in Olympia
arguing with the naked woman.
Manet is getting pissed. This is not
What he pictured when he began
this painting. And I, a very pruring fellow
am out in front of my libido
trying to crank it up as if it were a Model T.
Still beautiful but she chills my prurience.