All These Poets

by Darryl Price


All these poets with their hands

Full of poems are driving

Me into the wheat fields like

A flock of crows. They offer

You a cigarette and light

The damn thing with a poem.


They give you a little dance,

But when they take off their clothes

Poems are stuck to their feet

Like blades of grass. All their lips

Taste like poems dipped into old

Barbecue sauce. They trail with


You after butterflies or leaping on poor

Fireflies, but when it comes time

To free all the prisoners

Their keys will only unlock

A chest full of more poems.

What's wrong, they will say, don't you


Like poetry? Eyelashes

Wink, but the closer you look

The more you make out the ends

Are fastened with small poems.

Earrings are acrobats with

Poems to be handed out


Like flyers to the breathless thrilled to death

Crowds clamoring below the bleachers. They'll invite you

Over for dinner, but your

Fork and knife will have been replaced

By rolled up poems, tied with

Typed out blurbs. These poets don't


Believe in poetry as

A way of life, of being

Awake, they see it as a

Fabulous job and they must

Get there first for, or die trying.

All these poets want you to


Swallow their words without chewing.

Without thinking. Without

Buttoning or unbuttoning. Without feeling further

For the poor souls who need it

The most. Without so much as

A thank you for the sacrificial listen.

Bonus poem:


The Ragged Stars Spit Their Stained Wooden Teeth on the Soggy Ground

by Darryl Price


on belts upon the cold slice of my clouds

like sopping poor man's curtains. I can't help

this hill. You get to climb into someone's

friendly valley lap and sleep. I can't help

these flopping, wounded birds trying to fly

through dirt like sick frogs. I've got my tiny

skeleton scarf to drag myself with, but


you've got each other. I've got my parched hands

stuffed in my pockets like missing scars, but

you've got more than yesterday's tears. I did

not get to forget. I've got my Captain

wherever I go, but you've got your steel

army of polished fingers lifting you

to safety above the splashing norm. I've

got my lonely window full of dreams, full


of blowing leaves, but you've got your apples

like new pink erasers in a basket

of no wrong. I've got my songs in my head

like shadows that came apart. I'll never

see you again. I've got my electric

wires, it's all trees on a slope. I've got a

diamond soul, but you've got a paid for

future, no matter the burned out sorrow on my brow.