She Called My Poem Nice

by Jack Varnell

She thought it complimentary

but to me, its tired thin veil

pierced, and piercing,

revealed disappointment.

It was decided right then,

I'd show her nice.

With every effort, her hollow praise

included undertones of,

“There is no future in art,

you will not change lives

with flowery words.

Please don't rock the boat”

In living that, keeping the promise to myself,

the politics of it all resulted in nine steps up.

Counted, because I couldn't see them.

Nine up to the stage to accept the award

from the blood - thirsty audience

obsessed with my words.

Nine up — an eternity down.

She impassively liked them all.

They were all “good”

She was wrong.

Lives had been changed.

A government morphed into judge and jury.

A community revealed to be sheep based on lies.

Me, taking a fall for being an instigator of truth.

One was led to murder.

The last thing I heard

as the host pulled the lever

was the squeak of metal and wood,

and her wailing.

If she had only taken the time

to understand the poems.