I thumb through the American Poetry Review
looking for a poet to like, scanning newsprint
for shape and size, open space, shorter lines—

for that brave twist of perception that strums
a new chord, but most of my contemporaries
are busy with how they imagine the details

ought to be, or try to shock me with profanity
I used loosely at seven not knowing why.
But there’s always one or two to focus on

and big ads for MFA programs, poets-
in-residence I never heard of, faculty
just like me, learning how to write.

But a poet arrives when listed as visiting—
the name that draws tuition for a stipend
like lecture tours for retired politicians,

but far more inspiring. This is the end
of the rainbow in a great poet’s life,
shuffling words to a roomful facing fame

before it slumps at its desk, or luckier
to wander off into demented landscapes
to suppose it penned its own prize.

2 responses to “WHEN BOOK SALES SLIDE

  1. Thanks girls for following my poetic ramblings, I’m pleased that you like them.


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