Poem came to the city looking for Justice.
He found Fame instead.
The bars are filled with other Poems, ordinary
verses all just trying to find their way, some
with jobs, others looking for a pick-up
line and a sucker to pay the bill. He plays
solitaire in the corner with his eyes
lowered. There is no place to go. The pressure
to conform refills his glass. He sips
carefully, nursing, waits for something to happen.
Poem tips small as he leaves, notices
the sound of change against the glass table-top,
the tension between the two lovers at the next table,
idiosyncrasies of light and the uncertain time of day.
Poem’s vision of the whole thing is troubled.
This is what Poem does best.
This is not his City; he has
come from the Outside, notices the sound of transition:
his arrival and their stasis—the street dissolves
into the Poem. This is
what Poem does best.
Poem begins wandering, a search that is not
linear nor circular despite everything he has been taught. Stories
fill dumpsters and landfills. Fame follows him, dependent
and whining—Fame can’t sustain himself. Stories can’t
He is still there, Poem, poking
down alleys, knocking on back
doors, begging for another hit.
Now, he is a product of the City. Still
he dreams of outside, that place where
Poems aren’t poems and that thing
he’s surely forgotten is found.