The Sin of the Local Poet, #56

Let the great ones consider
the small and vital details
of daily living, give life
to a button or old shoe.

Let them engage in debate
with other masterpieces,
in conversations with great
and influential captains.

I will take a longer lens,
a broader stroke, make bold claims
and Romantic indictments,
swear my allegiance to Love

while pining for the embrace
of all my long gone exes,
poorly drawn caricatures
of the ancient archetypes.

I will sing of lips and eyes,
the virtue of women, blow
by the Feminine Mystique,
exalt the roundness of breasts.

Let someone else, the well-read
writer, Master of the turn
of a verse, draw together
the disparate images

of a Father’s bent down face,
the garden he used to hoe,
sweat on a lover’s arm, hair
of a tomato blossom.

Let those who wait patiently
for the great works to be born
recite odes before the King
and Queen and clapping masses.

Let the Sage come back, recast
the poem a hundred times,
revise into a thousand
sculptures, take the best of each,

bang out over many months
a single line, abiding
image, the one true order
of the transcendent Poem.

I will dally like the court
jester, make poems that tip
into indulgence, tumble
into sentiment and pith

then vanish, off to the next
quick stroke, mediocre work
tossed around to friends, loved ones,
folded into envelopes

and submitted to journals
I’ve never bought. Tiny slips
of paper with a kind “Thanks,
but no thanks,” return unread.

Let the great ones be troubled
by the meaning of each word,
the line, the verse, the metric.
I’ve got a curtain to jerk.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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