in response to Mark Edmundson’s essay “Poetry Slam”
Poetry isn’t dead. It just needs a haircut
and to close its mouth when it smiles
so we don’t see its teeth. There’re too many
feelings. Cut out the feelings. Ditto,
the facts. What poetry wants is a week
at the beach, a good tan, shrimp scampi,
and cocktails that glow UFO-green.
From the lawn chair, it’ll see the horizon
is flat and the ocean is empty. Below
this surface is simply more surface,
which is why there’s no need to splash.
What I hate most are insights. Yellowed
and wolfish, they remind me of riddles
I once read to my sweetheart. We shared
a beer float, and studied the clues:
whiskey, a rope, fine china, and rings.
Later we wept and returned, unenlightened,
to a home we adored, pancakes and coffee,
headaches and naps. We had jobs and a bed,
joint-checking and pills. Our love was a sentence,
two fools and a dog, some verbs and a mood,
and we’d liked it, un-poetic, diagram-able, routine.