German Cities

Richie Hofmann


Next week he will be away, auditioning:
Stuttgart. Frankfurt. Hamburg. Berlin.
We talk about music, style, discipline.
The great composers
between our lips. He sings and speaks
with the voice of a priest, father, or devil. 
I pull on my jeans: in my pocket,

the department store strip of paper
sprayed with cologne.

The garden that enters
the room is the garden of a childhood
in Munich; the naked old men

who smoked along the banks of the river
are dead now. My pocket smells of masculine lavender. 


Richie Hofmann is the author of Second Empire (2015). He is currently Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University. 

Image: “Cloud Study (Early Evening),” Simon Dennis. ca. 1786-1806. From The Metropolitan Museum of Art.