In suit of armor, I sally into the breach
Of some late-night coffee-house.
As I rise and face the mike
(Lifting my visor)
The beatniks frown;
English professors hide their wives and children
From my per-verse sins.
It's a tough gig, as Sam Kinison would have said,
The poetaster audience deceptively polite,
And I must content myself with the thought
That the ladies might prefer my songs to those
Populating any modernist literary journal:
My songs (though I dare say
They were not written for singing),
Such quaint and lovely gems of metered rhyme!
But as I sit before a page of my free-verse
I am struck by the anvil of oppressive
Bulk and strain.
I traverse, to my chagrin,
Prose in drag,
Distended paunch and powdered airs:
"Pardon me... does his excellency possess any
Becomes a woolen overcoat in a Hawaiian paradise.
Sweating adjective and metaphor,
My stanzas pant and crawl
Like some thirst-blighted ape
In search of a watering hole.
Save me! I cry.
My Muse, chastise me sweet
When I am more prolix than is mete!
Invade me with new hosts of inspiration;
Rout the stuffy old campaigners
Who vex me with their stale pomp
And crotchety spirits.
Lead the way, O long-dead masters
Of unmetered eloquence,
For I am sorely in need if your guidance.
George Chadderdon © 1995