by Jeff Hoffman
One winter morning I broke up with Becky
at FAO Schwarz and then later over drinks
at a Times Square tourist bar, and in between
we watched policemen arrange sawhorses
in front of The Plaza hotel: Netanyahu was coming.
Later, I’d try to write a play about two NYPD officers–
one old, one young. The younger could give
two shits for Israel or Palestine
whereas the older, whose wife was Jewish,
dreamed nightly the Wailing Wall
alive in a cacophony of hands. Becky
was a runner and so I had become
a runner and would follow beside her
around Central Park’s loop
and imagine myself running the same loop
with someone very much like Becky
but not quite the actual Becky
in the actual skin of her sneakers.
And in my daydream, my Daydream Becky
would tease me gently about my spindly legs
then sprint off toward the toy-boat pond,
leaving me to ponder a guzzle of dust.
I’d like to think the world remains big and absolute
beyond the twitching of my eyes. I’d like to imagine
Netanyahu’s fleshy bears of flesh biding time
on the limousine’s buffed black leather.
Netanyahu shuffles his papers into a proper order:
how he will soon emerge from his motoring cave
and present himself to the world exactly
in accordance with the craft of his desires.
–And I never could finish the damn play,
and so here in a smatter of snow outside
The Plaza hotel, two policemen sip coffee
and wait for a stranger’s arrival:
they would sift through their own lives,
I think, and not bother much with words–
or how everything might change with the snort
of a horse-carriage horse and a tourist couple
laughing and pointing at Officer Should Have
Long Since Retired, spilling his coffee
on gloveless hands, yowling and helpless,
his only coat–the only one I’ll allow–
the cold bark of an imagined wind.
Jeff Hoffman was a Wallace Stegner fellow in poetry at Stanford University from 2004 to 2006. In 2002, he was a Chesterfield Screenwriting Fellow with Paramount Pictures. His poems have appeared recently in The New Republic, Indiana Review, and Ploughshares. (7/2007)