Arthur Vogelsang

My Girl
December 16, 2019 Vogelsang Arthur


I was shopping for a castle.
You do it by word of mouth.
Some friend of some acquaintance will have one
Or two, but you must be discreet, be
Sure the acquaintance has the
Connection, or he’ll think you’re a nut.
A castle or two is rarely for sale somewhere.
The guy said buy both or no soap, neither
Comes alone. One is in Scotland,
The other in Turkey.
I didn’t have enough money for two, besides
What would somebody do with two castles?
My girlfriend said she’d buy one.
I was counting on her for good advice only,
And I screwed up, bad judgment.
Does your girlfriend want a castle? Ha!
Well mine thought it was okay for me
To be in Turkey for a month and her to be
In Scotland that month. So, I says to her,
At the parties we throw (and having parties
In a castle is the point of owning a castle)
At the parties who will be our dates?
We’ll pick good ones, she says.
I untied the knot of looming disaster I had made—
I said forget the Turkey castle, you
Get the Scotland one, and I’ll stick with you.
Oh darling, she says, how grand of you
To think of this. Next I tried to shop
For a castle near her Scottish castle,
Aggressively and secretly and persistently shopped,
But there were none for sale.
The moral—
Better to have a full-time girlfriend, lots of
Acquaintances and friends, and live year round
In a house in Southern California
Than to shop for a castle.
Even after a month in residence my girl and I had not
Visited all her castle’s rooms
And on our last day
After an extensive self-guided tour
We opened a door
To a dead man on the floor
Obviously stabbed lots recently.
The police believed it was murder.
Nobody stabs themselves to death.
I said the perpetrator might have been a ghost
Since that’s what ghosts do with ghost knives
And we didn’t hear anything untoward
The whole month. Shut up, my girl said,
They don’t want to hear that.
I had wanted a castle in the first place
So I could say anything I wanted in it,
But she was right, I wasn’t thinking
When I said it to the police.

Arthur Vogelsang‘s seven books of poetry include A Planet (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983) and Orbit (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016).  Twentieth Century Women (University of Georgia Press, 1988) was chosen by John Ashbery for the Contemporary Poetry Series.