Taoseans, What Barbarians
by Mary Jane White



have come and behaved so badly
that all these signs are necessary:

on the tribute to lolling friendship
(Three women drenched in color,
heavy, and heavy-breasted, six breasts
arm in arm, embracing) --- a sharply-
folded card: Do not touch this statute.

Even in the oil-change waiting-parlor
On a lowly, deal and steel-legged table
(already moved well out of reach
of any feet) hangs taped an eight-by-ten
lined notebook sheet on how not to treat
the furniture . . .

And here in Motel 8 (so, not your
finest ‘shabby-chic’ but still of low
compliant adobe) --- a securely mounted,
framed, permanent reminder
to every visitor (whether ski bum,
tourist, gawker, or passing serviceable
trucker) --- Please be courteous
of other guest. (No “s”). Slamming
door and stomping feet (!) is very
disruptive to others. (With an “s”)
Thank you. Front desk.

(with a nod to Cavafy)





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