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I know poets who discard
their lines like trousers, shirt
and underwear from door to
bed, a hurried one-night stand
with somebody—they don’t
quite catch the name—
and whoosh, they’re gone.

Pressing in to what
he’s left behind, a slavering
crowd approves—why not,
for what could safer be
than catching drifts of
someone else’s ripples,
seventh hand seduction,
quick! Spectator’s game.

I know poets who
with charcoal palettes
draw precise and gloomy
verse that mostly sounds
the same, convincing all who
somberly agree to congregate
and read, of vast intelligence—
the poet’s, not the readers’.

I’d rather know a poet
who takes time to rise above
the melancholic, with wit enough
to shake his trousers upside down
for change, who knows my name,
feels eager in the dawn’s cool
light to spring from bed and
plant bare feet on new
and higher ground.

And more than this,
I know that readers too
who aren’t me would wriggle
deep and breathe a-fresh
to see the naked poet
pick his clothes up
off the floor and
put the coffee on.


© Elaine Stirling, 2014
The gorgeous image comes from