Ars Poetica

I’m tired of poems where you dig and dig, with your fingers,

as if through barnacles, or brambles.  Your fingers are red

as chopped meat, the bags of your eyes blue and purple

as oyster shells.  I’m tired of poems that leave your head

like a scattered houseguest leaving a room, cigarette still

blaring smoke like a bad saxophone solo.  You lift your head,

a broken jukebox, out of the book, and find your thoughts

flashing like a faulty strobe.  The light goes in and out, in and out,

like a skittish horse.  Your eyes are starry X’s, your body a clunky pill.

I’m tired of poems that refuse to blossom, as if by being elliptical

they can glide like an ice-skater across any cracked surface.

I’m tired of whole books without anything I can eat,

that make being hungry a laughable embarrassment,

as if one can survive on evasion alone.

I’m not trying to say that the self is unconditional.

I know we are transitory as weak grudges.

Still, I want to read poems that give me the feeling

of being indoors on a rainy autumn night –

wind howling like a madman, trees shaking with meaning,

my lover’s arms like a book of poems

open in the absence of light.


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