, , , ,

how do you bump off a poem


you suffocate it

with superfluous words

and stuffy grammar

for it cannot

inhale the pretentious fumes

of a smouldering thesaurus

in indelicate hands


or chop off stanzas

with a fountain machete

watch the words dissolve

into immutable discord

a jigsaw puzzle

that’s no longer a picture


you stab it

with the drab discipline

of a force-fit


rhyming scheme

and leave it gasping

for a breath of free verse


or strangle it

with a taut wire

of ineffable material

imbue it

with  playful profundity

and everything else poets do

except the crucial dash

of yourself


yes these are

the standard

operating procedures

in the do-it-yourself manual

on poemslaughter

but the sure-fire way

to kill a promising poem

is to never write it


because once born

a poem never truly dies

even upon mutilation

it is only relegated

to literary life-support


a chance rearrangement

of potent words

in the fevered imagination

of a sentient being

infuses it with

a lust for life


i’m alive

it’ll proclaim

jump out of

its feather bed

and quietly

mutter to itself

i’m still alive