an exercise in appropriation

Judge not.
Lest you yourself be read.
(Read not, lest you yourself be judged.)
Dear Marjorie Perloff, I am sure
You have long moved on
From May 2012
And yet


Here I revive that moment in your past,
I perform a miracle, bending space and time,
Twisting words and meaning,
And (Presto!) here you are again, elucidating the woes
Of our present poetic conundrum.
For the conundrum is as much present as past
And will undoubtedly present again tomorrow.
What is new?
Is there anything new under the sun?
Even Solomon, the great ecclesiast, wondered that much, thousands of years ago
And considering how much ‘new’ has happened since then,
Does that give us more right to make the same complaint
Or less?
We are born, we eat, we excrete, we sleep, we write poetry and we die.
“What happens to poetry
When everybody
Is a poet?”
What indeed.
What happens to motherhood when
Everyone
Is a mother?
What happens to thinking (wait a minute) when
Everyone is a thinker? “The demand for a certain
Kind
Of prize-
winning…poem has produced extra-
Ordinary uniformity.”
I’ll admit that wasn’t fluent. But they’re your words
Not mine
So who’s to blame?
I blame the “prepositional and parenthetical phrases, laced
With graphic imagery” (they do get in the way, like oversized testicles)
“Or even extravagant
Metaphor” or even an
Exigent minotaur
Caged within the
Rose-scented jaws of the labyrinth, weeping
Tears of purist melancholy, watching
It’s reflection in an icicle-mirror
Jowls drenched in blood and torn ligaments dripping from it’s jaws.
(If you wonder, Marjorie, why you, why now
The answer is simple:
Because.)
“It was not always thus”
It, thus, was not always
It was, not thus, all ways
It was, thus was it? No tall weighs!
“Creative writing” has become “formulaic”
“It is time” “Then perhaps”
“To turn to”
“Uncreative writing”
(Whose apostrophes are these…)
Well, these apostrophes are whose.
Whose prose was those, transpose? Would prose be better? Would you find it more interesting than a lineated vision?
But
Fear
Not!
“A growing group of poets is rejecting the status quo.”
For what is a status quo
If not something to be rejected,
To rebound upon, to spring from,
To shoot us off over the net in order that we may
Fish around for inspiration in the
Morass of the time before the time before.
There’s nothing an intelligent audience
Enjoys more
Than nodding in smug recognition
Of
Some obscure allusory reference.
Hey, nonny nonny.
Beware the Jabberwock, my sorrow !
The fables that globetrotter, the clenches that cattle-grid! 
Beware the Jubjub bistro, and shun 
The frumious Bandersnatch!
Oblations, Oulipo, for your N+13 (and what use to us is
A dictionary
When the mischievous bastard invents his own nouns).
Ok, that’s enough,
If no point is to be made,
Then we shall leave it at that.
If I were a poem (but then again, no,
Or a man who makes pancakes in the grovelling snow,)
Would I resent my existence
Simply because it is
The result of someone else’s image
And my creator’s
New
Perspective?
My gift is my throng.
And this one’s for you,
Marjorie.

 

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