Poetic Sin: Its Wages

by David Alpaugh

EVER FEEL the horror of comfortable stress?
Muck, like Dante, in an organized mess?
If not, get a load of this tongue-tied address
By Confessional Poet with nothing to confess:
     "Bless me, oh reader, for being thin-of-skin;
     For divulging everyone else's mortal sin—
     My mother, my father, my sister, my brother.
     [Don't forget Gramps] Always, the Other!

     They fuck up my life, wherever I rove;
     But I'll not stick my head in Sylvia's stove.
     That's something I’ve no intention of doing.
     (Way too much fun, eating and screwing!)

     Who needs an oven, a noose, or a pill?
     Shouldn’t poetry itself be sufficient to kill?
     From the widening gyre where animus hovers
     My lines'll swoop down on erstwhile lovers:

     Howling, disemboweling He or She
     For daring to dump Poor Li'l Ol' Me!
     Making damn sure there’s no way they’ll
     Get off scop-free with Philistine betrayal

     Of Lady Lazarus with an MFA degree,
     A latter-day Lowell, Sexton, and Plath,
     I mimic their bitterness, fury, and wrath —

     Kick the whole world in its miserable ass!
     Gotta run now — to teach my poetry class.
Go (son or daughter) and for your cunning crime,
These pennants: Two NEA's — and a Guggenheim!

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