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Ode to Impotence

Jonathan Stillerman

Thank goodness every so often
a monument closes down
for renovation so tourists
without guilt or obligation
to some iconic obelisk
are free to explore a city’s
unheralded attractions,
wander off the central square,
the main thoroughfare,
venture beyond the facade
of history, citadel of myth,
get lost in a labyrinth of alleys,
arches, pocket parks, secret
courtyards, humble interiors
freckled with benches dedicated
to lost love, perfect spots
to sit and kiss or just rest
before resuming the search
for that unmapped half-
street even someone who
grew up there might not know,
neglected nook, dead end,
lifeless by day, that after dark
begins to shiver with activity,
hole-in-the-wall, underground
heart, where, rumor has it,
you can dance until dawn.