Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ben Lawless

The subsidy

Paul sits down across from me and the tower
of paper I call the last year of my life.
He’s probably 22, but looks 12,
and the cocky sonofabitch straightens his glasses,
his tie, his comfy H&R Block job.
He triple-checks his notes before saying

There’s a new stimulus package handed down from the man upstairs.
You qualify if you promise to lay down your pen
and never write another poem.
It’s quite simple actually:
we’ll deduct every poem not written,
every moonbeam undreamt,
every gull no longer sailing from the edge of the sea
to your lover’s arms…

He’s shaking now. This job is getting to him.
I’m not the first poet he’s seen today,
and he’s intoxicated from the imagination he’s helped destroy.
He’s a giant hose siphoning the gas from my car,
and he’s babbling now, his arms spread wide

but I’ve stopped listening. I’m too busy spending my money.
My new mansion, a palace built on tax evasion,
gold orthodontics, a trophy wife serving me
diet lemonade in glasses glinting sun.
We’re too rich to smile.

Finally we’re free.

1 comment:

  1. An absolute blast to join everybody last Saturday at the reading.