Poets House, NYC (revised)

by Roberto C. Garcia

Finally I'm home,

The poets welcome me too,

Such decorum,

Considering they are,

So many,

Soon my arms, hands are tired,

From hugging—shaking hands,

Ears ringing, from French and Italian lips

Kisses on each cheek,

It's a good time, until they ask me to leave,

Oh, you can't stay, your poetry

Is out in the world, when you die

Your volumes will make their way

Not just here but everywhere


So I stretch borrowed time,

Except for the English,

Checking Lépine watches,

No poet is rude-

Old rabbis brood on shelves, reciting

Holocaust poems, psalms, odd

Them sitting next to Light Verse,

Lyres metrical, lyrical, next to Critics, frowning

“Firstly, a poet, is to be, a technician”

Poo!—today's technicians are academics first,

Then are they crowned poets, right or wrong,

Frenchmen double in drunken laughter,

Merrymaking to African poets, who keep a trust

For being Bards, in their palms


O Beatniks, freedom raunchy,

Each line of verse a flag

Waving, over liberated country,

 I want to sit with them

The smoke is too much, too early

To drink, the men hitting on me

A Mr. Norton extracts me from, a tricky conversation

So now, the Anthologies,

Yes, this is nice

Hors d'ouvres are served, Tea

A fireplace even, we sit making civility,

O African-American poets, spy us

Out the corner of their lives, tucked away

Near poems on Art, Asia, Austral Asia, Ballads

Theirs is a quiet corner, the Anthologists

Clear throats, as if to say,

“What? Well, don't look at me.”

After dinner I toast the “Parting Glass”,

 Leave through the back, a line of poets

Greets me, some on a stage of books, performing

Waiting to get in, dead poets unrecognized,

Obscure poets slamming—Dionysian,

Rimbaud with a pipe, a bottle of Absinthe,

All waiting to get in, through clouds of Buddha

More hugs, more handshakes, kisses, 

A long chat with Bukowski,

Offers me his girlfriend, offers me a swig

From his flask, and after, I begin to dream