Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Monday, October 22, 2012

Unlicensed Poetry

He operated poetry without a license
for decades. To be fair, he had tried
a few times to get one. But he couldn't
ever seem to complete all the steps required.

Eventually the authorities caught up with
him. They made him pledge allegiance
to a School of Poetry and declare whether
he was underground, on top of the ground,
or just lying there covered in leaves. He
chose the latter. He rewrote the pledge
to make it sound better.

He was also required to join poetry-groups,
councils, and commissions and to post
his opinions about poetry-arguments
online. They wanted to wear him down,
the regulators. Soon enough they lost
sight of him. He slipped away to write
some poems again.

To write some poems. An infinitive phrase,
an unregulated phase in which a body may
live indefinitely. Once again he was free
to associate with garter snakes, statistical
geniuses, cats, drunks, students, plumbers,
spiders, foxed anthologies, and the groaning
clutter of his own mind.


Copyright Hans Ostrom 2012
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