(One more to go!)
Poem for All My Failed Poems
This is a poem for all my failed poems,
of those there are many. This is for
for the metaphors I herded like cats,
and rhymes I shot in a barrel. This is for
the villanelles bright as a vellum
when held to the light, but crumbled
under my flat finger, each word,
elemental yet separate. Each sad line
lacking heft, girth, and restraint.
Let’s be honest, this is for the sonnets
I suffocated and the sestinas beaten
into submission. I’m not above
waterboarding a poem to make it confess,
just ask the ghazals that bleat into the night.
A kind word must be found
for the best poem I never wrote, the one I lost
on the subway after Galway Kinnell told me
to carry a notepad wherever I go.
I think of you warmly, often. And for
the other works that never worked, that
bounced like checks and never cleared,
this poem is a gravestone reminder
that not all poems sink into the ground after death.
Some go on as ghosts, moving from place to place
to find the music they have been missing.