No more dactyls, never a dactyl, they
advised me. You must change your life. If not,
if you let on you know whose torso that
was hacked from, you're a goner. If you must,
be missed, then be prepared: you are a dead
poet, a name, your rep, anthologies
of what you said; and what you might have done,
you won't. You may observe the beggared moon,
the way it fits, entangled in the trees
midwinter sends at midnight. But say nothing.
I can write a different verse, a prose
of fits and starts. Hot taps, cold showers.
I'll bet I can do the sinuously mellifluous
periods, the byzantine gravity-free
construction of those whose libraries, like
their concubines, are kept for show, not use.
Formal gardens. Plumy tilth. I can be a
magpie dedalian artificer of crackerjack
miniatures, a head-lamped Faberge who
mines the thesaurus for uncut stunners and bodies
forth a facet for every season. I can do shopping
lists. 1 lb honey-cured bacon. 2 pkgs green beans
(frozen). Magical fruits, limp leeks, the nectarines
sent Hank J Jr in dreams as he associated the terrible
accident and dread vastation. Bran Flakes.
I tried it. Gave rhyme up. Pared. Mute, made all
my meters feet and inches. Read the backs
of jelly jars and fabric softeners.
Touched no one, no how. Celebrated love
with my mouth shut, like everybody else.
And moved. And moved again. I didn't say
where I was going. But they knew, who sent
an agent over with his standard contract
to stare at martial shadows, which I think
hide broken spondees. Or an anapest.
I shall wait here. The air is full of strange
motions and apparitions, all the ghosts
of rooms I shall not write in. I shoot blanks,
buckshot, wad-cutters, dum-dums. I have thrown
books through the windows. Let the bright sky in.