by Frank de Canio
You glowed in Shakespeare’s Measure play with art
enough to make me wish you were my wife.
And yet you parlayed Isabella’s part,
as supplicant to save your brother’s life,
to Caesar’s Antony. How fast you’d slough
off femininity in your pursuit
of leadership. Nor would I give you guff
if I’d been Brutus poised to prosecute
his doomed campaign. So when you rendered meek
Cordelia in Lear, as soft as fluff,
it fascinated me that you could pique
my sensibilities, thus, off the cuff,
as Antony. And no more than your bluff
in simulating prowess seemed enough.
Forget the bossa nova, galliard,
or women led by partners in a dance.
It’s more exciting when a gal, en garde
while fencing, chooses a proactive stance.
For then a guy’s not forced to press his suit,
or feint and parry to secure a match.
He just need raise his blade up in salute
in order to be privy to a snatch
of agency from an abortive fray.
And while most men prefer a solid hit
with penetrating thrusts of their epee,
a fencer who would rather coast than boast,
scores better with a woman’s strong riposte.
Frank de Canio was born & bred in New Jersey, works in New York. He loves music of all kinds, from Bach to Dory Previn, Amy Beach to Amy Winehouse, World Music, Latin, opera. Shakespeare is his consolation, writing his hobby. He likes Dylan Thomas, Keats, Wallace Stevens, Frost, Ginsburg, and Sylvia Plath as poets.
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