Four Poems (after Catullus)

Freeman Rogers Click to

Freeman Rogers is the editor of The BVI Beacon newspaper in the British Virgin Islands, an associate editor of Smartish Pace poetry journal and a fiction editor of the BVI-based Moko Magazine.  His poetry and other writings have appeared in Slate, The Oxford American, Southwest Review, Antioch Review and the anthology Seriously Funny: Poems about Love, Death, Religion, Arts, Politics, Sex and Everything Else.


Thanks to you I’ve become a Facebook stalker.
Every day, I Google you five or ten times
just to look for any ideas to help with
                                                getting you back.

Now I know that your newest boyfriend, Lucius —
I remember hearing him swear he’d write for
Time “or something bigger than that” before his
                                               thirtieth birthday —

just turned thirty-one, and he’s still reporting
hometown news, the same little rag, writing
shit about Kiwanis and geriatrics’
                                                restaurant ideas —

“Take-Out Goes Gourmet” — he’s a chump, a numbnuts!
James K. Baxter nailed it: he called newspapers
worthless, good for nothing but tablecloths and
                                                    toilet paper.

I don’t have a job with insurance, family
money, blow, or a Porsche, but if you leave him,
Lizzy, I’ll write hundreds of poems that make you
                                            come when you read them.



Lucius, I know you love it now:
the sun shines, you make hay,
and I can hear her moans all night
from seven states away.

You must be a ferocious stud
to keep her entertained
for two whole months. But soon enough,
she’ll have you chained

like an old dog in a muddy yard.
Even if you can do it
ten times in a single night,
easy, she’ll hold you to it

until you can’t go on, and while
you sleep, flat-broke and drained,
she’ll sneak off to another man,
with higher grade cocaine

than yours. I never liked you slick,
spoiled types — I won’t deny it —
but call me when she does you in.
You’ll need a drink. I’ll buy it.



Sarah’s “friended” dozens of famous poets:
National Book Awards, Pulitzer Prizes,
US Laureates and McArthur Fellows —
                                             even a Nobel!

Surely she can’t have met them all in person,
even at the largest and most prestigious
writers’ conferences, which she attends yearly,
                                            summer and winter.

Yet she comments tirelessly on their timelines:
birthday wishes, kudos for their collections,
flattery for their babies, giddy tributes
                                          praising their readings:

“OMG! You cracked me up at Bread Loaf,
improvising that line about the ocean
flipping off the tourists in the Bahamas —
                                          then I was sobbing!”

God knows why they never seem to “unfriend” her;
why, instead, they “like” her transparent comments,
often as not replying with some witty

Given the time she wastes fawning on Facebook,
is there any wonder her poems are puerile,
stilted, inarticulate, hackneyed, dull and
                                                hugely successful?

Just this morning, she posted an announcement:
Random House will publish her fourth collection
in as many years. Ninety-three people
                                                  “like” it already.



Out with it, Fred, you filthy dog!
Your Facebook friends are in a rage
over these oh-so-subtle hints
                                        across your page:

pics of a rose, glasses of wine,
and sunsets. Now this sly cliché —
“I’m even seeing my backyard
                                        in a new way!” —

posted the day your status changed
from “Single” to that hackneyed hedge:
“It’s complicated.” Either jump
                                       or leave the ledge!

Unless she’s married, or a beast,
or an imaginary squeeze
designed to prick another girl
                                       with jealousies,

you’d share her pics day in, day out
with no discretion (don’t forget
how hard you fell last time around:
                                      we’ve watched you sweat.)

What do you gain by clamming up?
Link to her page at least, or post
a few bikini pics that prove
                                       she’s not a ghost.

Surely you trust your Facebook pals.
If you’d just put us to the test,
I promise not even to send
                                       a friend request

without permission. Love won’t last
if it’s a secretive affair.
I want to sing of yours in verse
                                and share, share, share.


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