David Starkey

Fontana di Quattro Fiumi

How comic Bernini 
found the great rivers 
of the world!  The portly 

Ganges slouching 
on his rock; the Danube 
with arms outstretched, 

legs akimbo; the bald-
headed Río de la Plata, 
tilted back as if roaring

drunk, about to topple over; 
and the Nile, so afraid 
of everything he’s draped 

a blanket over his face.
Perhaps this Baroque
in-joke is a figure

for the very fountain-
head of ideas: where pratfalls
beget resplendent art 

and even the gods 
are not exempt
from sitting naked

in a gawking crowd
with pigeons
shitting on their heads.


David Starkey served as Santa Barbara’s 2009-2010 Poet Laureate and is Director of the Creative Writing Program at Santa Barbara City College.  His most recent full-length collections of poetry are A Few Things You Should Know about the Weasel (Biblioasis, 2010) and It Must Be Like the World (Pecan Grove, 2011).