Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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New Ars Poetica

This poem won’t sing on the sidewalk for dollar bills
or take penicillin; it’s disabled its airbags
and gone off the grid,

it’s allowing its id to have a say. This poem is not
your cure, sop, balm, or oasis of calm
in the world’s shitstorm.

It does not lament then-times, proclaim end-times,
or seek a new vision; it sometimes
wears a lead apron to sleep in.

It likes lubrication, fission, fusion, any impossible
mission, and occasionally
it likes to play dead.

This poem is fed up with being told to strip
itself of all meaning, and with rebuke
for use of the first-person pronoun;

it’s slightly less pissed than I sound. More like
less resigned, more willing
to go all-for-broke.

It won’t cadge tips or a smoke, does not seek
redemption, absolution,
or praise; it might ask for a raise.

This poem rose from the palm-fused-to-palm vise
of a martyr’s burned hands
and sometimes, just sometimes

it would fucking like to rhyme. It declines, equally,
to don G-string, cock ring, or strap-on;
nor will it masturbate while you watch.

This poem took a forty-year nap, then woke
with a huge headache
and a small bird dead on its tongue.

For a time it turned tricks, beating its wings
to powder against every bright
lit-from-within pane,

but that was then, before 2016, dark year
of the ascension
of our Lord the Mad Clown;

and now this poem would rather be guillotined
than sing for you on cue—it’s not
your bitch, anymore, to slap around.  

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