He kept Plath in his beard--
Pound in his pocket.
He was a big, round, officially endorsed cargo ship
carrying Crane, Yeats and Cummings
to and above all our upturned mermaid faces.
How we adored him as he
orbited above us,
tossing us enjambments and sandwich crumbs.
Everyone I knew that winter
was on some sort of diet, slowly
starving themselves to get more
and saints' medals for self-denial.
He alone moved through our world consuming it
even as he fattened it with all he stuffed us full of.
He said, "I have the reputation of being unapproachable,
but come to my office any time."
He had The Bard on the wall, Ferlinghetti on the book shelf.
He saw that I was famished and gave me loaves and fishes,
bound with glue and published by the University Press.
I let him down, you know, in the end.
My depression settled in and I gacked the final paper.
His appearance that last time, shocked me.
He said, "You're smart, but you don't try."
Gods kill themselves,
and when they do, nobody can believe it.
I thought it was my fault.
It wasn't, but
I grew all that spring and summer, even after he was gone.
My parents' lips hard-dried in a thin line.
Friends put their palms on me.
I never told anyone, and they all assumed it was some college boy.
Now I have one of my own, but when he was little
I would bitch at him to go sledding,
make a snowman,
anything, but just get your nose out of that book.
Then I'd feel bad and apologize to the air, and to Francisco
for all of my shortcomings
and the poems--the poems unwritten.
For Magaly's "Carpe Jugulum" challenge at the Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Some of this poem is true, the rest is my imagination.