People Diana Goetsch Who are all these people . . .ducking into boutiques, bouncing outof cafés, younger, taller than ever—Generation Dude? Generationtype w/my thumbs? We used to bethem, of course, only they don’thave quite our panache, ourcast of characters; their dreamsseem so counterfeit; their exploitspale in comparison to oursas ours pale in comparisonto the madcap hijinks of the Rat Pack—that jazz-crooning, highball-drinking,fedora-wearing, celebrity-roasting,mafioso-befriending, skirt-chasing, ingénue-divorcingcadre of song-and-dance menthat owned the strip andruled the night from Vegasto Hollywood to Broadway,predated, in turn, by young John Keatsand his circle of loyal Cockneys—the irrepressible Leigh Hunt,Charles Cowden Clarke that wild man,and Fanny Brawne (of delicate ankle)—peerless editors and correspondentsand composers of charming rondeaux,who drew into their suburban foldone Percy Bysshe Shelley, in a fleetingmoment of cultural transmissionthat could never hope to rivalthe ten-thousand-year sliver of timein which a late Neanderthal spottedan early Homo sapiens across a clover field,eyeing the humble hominidof smaller head and smoother browwith what had to be an emotionunprecedented in human, or non-human history, uttering (more or less)“Who the fuck are you?” Diana Goetsch has written several poetry collections, most recently In America (2017, Rattle) and Nameless Boy (2015, Orchises Press). She is also a literary journalist, author of “Life in Transition,” a series of 31 essays on gender in America at The American Scholar. She’s received fellowships from the NEA, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and The New School, where she was the 2017 Grace Paley Teaching Fellow. “People” appears in our Summer 2012 issue.