Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

I sat at my usual stool at the bar
and ignored the bartender’s scowl.
“Yes those eight quarters are your fucking tip”
I thought without a moment of guilt.
Now that football season is over,
I find Sundays are best spent drinking and reading.
I refuse to jump on the machine
that is New York on any given weekend.
This city has no use for the disengaged,
or the conscientious objector, but I don’t give a shit,
so I hide in dim corners until nightfall.

I was avoiding the sun and working
my way through a bottle of decent single malt
with an uppity west-side literary rag chaser.
I get a copy in the mail every time
they print one of my poems so vanity
forces me to at least give it the once over.
It was filled with everything you’d expect,
two pieces of short fiction, one pretty good
and the other not great, but a good story none the less.
Two dozen poems of various length and skill,
covering everything from love to Iraq and back again.
The Letters to the Editor were the usual prattle
bemoaning the dearth of true art in Western society.
One letter made it quite clear that sentimental crap
was unwelcome and pleased nobody.
Another, written by a grumpy little man,
railed against every poem (all of them) that did not
meet his educated discriminating standards.
As I read his editorial, I could picture the smirk spread
across his face. His little diatribe against the unworthy
amongst these pages, penned with great concern
for future generations of poetry readers everywhere. 

A glance at my watch confirmed my suspicion
that the angry yellow sun should have mellowed a bit,
so I snatched half the change off the bar and walked out.
On my way home I gave the change and the magazine
to a homeless woman who thanked me with a blessing.
When I got back to my door I paused just long enough
to watch the remnants of tangerine melt into the Hudson,
and I smiled as I imagined the coming night.
There was poetry to be seen on the faces of the city
and in the single blade of grass pushing defiantly
through the Lexington Avenue sidewalk.



emmettwheatfall.com said...

Clever, real, earthy, and we know what you mean, especially regarding the academic poetry snobs. They believe the creative world of poetry is exclusively their domain. Thank you for tackling the subject poetically. Love this poetic piece immensely SMG.

Brian Miller said...

there is def poetry to be seen in the faces of the night...even a single blade of grass...a little life among the pricks that think they have it all figured out...ha...how little they know, that they will never know...

Beachanny said...

Your poetry keeps its edge and its observances -balancing what's important with what is not, mellowing one golden liquid moment with another. Drink drives your poetry very well and it's a good shot that you don't have to drive in the city. Loved the Lex avenue touch. Always a pleasure to read you.

Anonymous said...

Well...it's just a good read and a great poem and that's all I can say... :)

HisFireFly said...

"no use for the disengaged"

no use for so many, no use

yet, walk on!

flaubert said...

I like the imagery in this as I used to live in Gramercy Park, I am a native New Yorker. Really good poem.


Kate Mia said...

I like the 'single deviant blade of grass' pushing through the sidewalk...overcoming the adversity!

Ginny Brannan said...

Felt a kind of self-imposed hardness, almost emptiness in the life of the writer, who spends his hours in the bar pouring over critiques, then waits till sunset to leave. Lived on L.I. for 5 years, NYC seemed a unique world unto itself and the residents--fast moving, serious, even cold. Thought that when the writer took back half the tip, until he redeemed himself by giving to a homeless man. Really well penned, detailed and intriguing piece.