Today's poem is by Mike Dockins

Dead Critics Society

Zooks! What have I done with my anthologies? I'll need a
year of sleep after writing my millionth review (with aplomb).
XX bottles of moonshine litter my bedside table like arsenic.
Why no lilting iambics in contemporary poetry? Only dead,
vermin-ridden prose riddled with autobiographical treacle.
Under my bed, the skeleton of Browning. I use his broken-off
tibias as walking sticks. For hundreds of scenic miles I drag
sensitivity, & marvel. Content must be pounded into a rich
risotto of form—evident rhyme scheme & equal stanzas. I
quote Keats: "Gasp! I'm dying!" Were he as prosperous as J.
P. Morgan, he may not have suffered so. These days, a black-
out of good taste, a dimming of metrical etiquette, a dismal
nerve of postmodern surrealism, whatever that means. I'm
mad! I raise one of Browning's femurs in revolt! I've a notion,
ladies & gentlemen, that our language has crumbled into
kindling—a few tiny sparks, maybe, but no thick log to keep
joy in prosody truly alive. Meantime, I'm just about up to "Q"
in my encyclopedia of literature: Quixote, etc., but still I gather
hives hunting hopelessly for my beloved poetry anthologies.
God knows Browning would have understood—what a saint.
Five finger bones claw the floor under my bed, searching. You
entertain such a relic, you pay the price—each knuckle a shiv
digging for inspiration in the floorboards, scraping shallow
crosses into my skin as I slumber. I should lock him in a box!
But then nothing would remind me of my own bones—O my
awaiting death—the only theme suitable for a poetry buzz.

Copyright © 2006 Mike Dockins All rights reserved
from Atlanta Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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