O merriest, wiliest, and holiest of harlots! ~ Edward IV
The poet works the room the way she works words.
Her students lead thesauresed lives,
ape tropes poached from livid legends,
derive new meanings from stale or stolen selves:
the somnolent Teutonic wag who trails
in the wake of his dark, squat, sarcastic
and loquacious comrade in barbèd harms
whose eyes aim not to see but to shield;
the white-eyed teen in flannel
and jeans whose threadbare knees
have been patched/repatched not in fashion
but in desperate needling for attention;
the goateed sculptor who has no further wont
of cheap whiskey to indulge intoxication,
who desires nothing beyond some boozing end
as read in Hemingway, Faulkner, or Bukowski—
who would prefer to be Anne Sexton
prefer to be depressed,
and die in a garage.
Who would not rather be Jane (but not that Jane),
and be sparkling,
as waves of adulant attention
wash over her in a redolent glow?
Yes, even men would like to be Jane.
Is this really the way words work?