Thursday, April 21, 2011

poem of the day 04.21.11

tough shit

the artist lays in bed
at five in the morning
listening to the sound
of the garbage trucks
the neighbors
he wonders what art is for
at that hour
the artist stumbles into the kitchen
stumbles into coffee
into cats trying to kill each other
for slaughterhouse scraps
he checks the window
to see if it is going to rain
to see if the world is still there
the artist then gets in front of the machine
collects the rejected poems
collects the rejected short stories
typically these things do not
bother the artists
as there are other places
to send out writing
the artist fancies himself
as a writer with tough skin
but the rejection of this particular story
hurts the artis
it took him months to get it right
it’s about a traumatic event
from his childhood
but the editors at the fiction magazine
didn’t like it
they were fans
but they felt that it simply wasn’t deep enough
the artist reads this rejection
and wonders just how deep one really
has to be in
twenty-first century america
he drinks some coffee
looks over the story
and wonders what he can do to make
his own life resonate more
the artist does this realizing that he
is wasting precious hours
of his morning
soon he will have to shut down the machine
fix an unsatisfying lunch
and join the multitudes
on their way to the gallows
the artist realizes that he has used
this allusion to work many many times before
work like a gallows
bosses like grand devils
co-workers like murder
and he wonders if that is
why the literary magazine did not
take the story that was close to his heart
had he become cliché? the artist wondered
to the point where his own life
has become redundant on the page
the artist thinks back less than
thirty minutes before
nostalgic for that bed
before the alarm clock went off
and the garbage men and the neighbors
before he had to stumble into the dark dawn
to play artist
because the warehouses and retail places
could never quite hold him
long enough.
and he was never good at
science and math
back in grade school, high school
and college

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