To Tom

Poets, the great seers
should be able to do anything
and often do; but we have noses
and shouldn't stink. Not in my book.
So, burn those clothes you wore last week,
so old and stiff they practically wear themselves.
(It's the clothes-I know you're really quite clean)
that bring tears to the eyes
and sobs to the throats
of bystanders
(the play was not that sad)
and pinch the breath
triggering asthma in them prone.
And for heaven's sake, take a bath.
Enough of that Symbolist stuff.
Uh-huh, it's that bad.
Humor a swing-shift member of the bourgeoisie-
Burn them in some out-of-the-way space
in the vents between tenements,
keeping near a fire-extinguisher and a bottle of naptha.
People will tilt toward you then, not away
to hear the clever things you say
no one need suffer a foul smell
just because you write a good ghazel.
trust me on this one-and
I, you know, love you.

by robert dickerson

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