YOU ARE INVITED

I have to compliment you,
after all you ignored me
for four years in high school,
condemned me to the outcasts,
the geeks, the losers, the barely
tolerated and then only when
the Headmaster was watching.

I didn’t go to your parties,
no one without an invitation
ever dared, was left to the
clubs no one wanted to join,
but I have to say I was
truly surprised, shocked almost
when your letter came,
reminding me of our great
years of friendship, our
camaraderie then, but
regrettably I must decline
to contribute to our class fund.

THE POET?

He stood in front of the class
in a more than half empty lecture hall
and leaned into the podium, almost smiling.

He was here, a real poet, half famous
by his own reckoning, totally so by ours
since he was rumpled, as a poet ought,
his sport coat tweedy and ill fitting.

Still we harbored some doubts,
for there was no telltale sign
of a fountain pen’s ink
on his fingers and his nails
looked fresh from a manicure.

But he gripped the podium, read
and only glanced down occasionally,
so he must be a real poet,
for he didn’t bend the fingers
as if always hovering over
a keyboard, waiting for inspiration.

ENGLISH CLASS

He had planned
the exercise for weeks,
certain this one
would allow them
to break through the wall
that had imprisoned
the metaphors within them.
It was simple, and that
was its beauty, too many
attempts had become
bogged down, mired in
the fear that words
could do the greatest harm.
The exercise is simple,
he said, and they
put pens to paper.
Later, toward the end
of class, “would one of you
be kind enough
to read to the class
your description
of a young woman’s lips?”
One boy meekly rose
and through half clenched
teeth said, “Her lips
were precisely shaped
to barely cover her teeth.”


First appeared in The Right to Depart, Plainview Press, (2008).