An Advertisement in The New Yorker

How Will You Be Remembered?
an ad in the magazine asks,
and to my bewilderment,
a man named Mark J. Mormar
(I wonder what the J stands for—James or maybe Jonah?)
wants to write my biography.

Great men,
so I am told,
write great love letters,
and after reading a selection preserved for posterity,
it is also clear that great men
cling to married women.

Victor Hugo, John Keats, Lord Byron–tell me
a great writer of the 19th century,
and I will tell you that he
pursued, even
obsessed over objects of creativity
rather than bodies to be adored and pleasured.

But if Mark Jesse or Mark Jeramiah is to write my biography one day,
I’m afraid that I would want to be remembered as this: He was a fickle fool,
a romantic hero,
a great man, some would say,
who wrote to some one too complicated, too reckless, too taken,
“I never knew before what such a love as you made me feel was.
I did not believe in it. My fancy was afraid of it lest it should burn me up.”

Not: He was a stable companion,
an ordinary man,
a decent guy, most would say,
who wrote to some one so single, so beautiful, so predictable,
“I want you. Now.”