Writing a poem
Is like training a dog.
The poem loves you.
It loves you and it is loyal to you.
It is loyal to you and it wants to obey you – but
Sometimes it looks at you, cocks its head,
And just does not understand what you
Are telling it to do.
You want it to bark and growl and bite – but
It thinks you want it to fetch,
So it drops your slippers
At the feet of the thief
Who broke into your house.
Or it looks at you, cocks its head,
And is on the edge,
On the very edge
Of understanding you,
Of getting you,
Of getting you at last — but
And it’s off racing in a direction
You never wanted it to go.
I love my poems, but I can get upset,
I can raise my voice.
“Bad poem! Bad poem!
No treat for you!”
Sometimes I yell it, really yell it.
“Bad poem! Bad poem!”
My neighbor is shocked.
She phones me, “You’re cruel! Cruel!
I’ll call the Society on you!”
I tell her, “The American Poet’s Society
Is not the American Humane Society.”
She doesn’t listen.
And neither does the Poet’s Society.
They send their inspector around.
“Sir, we’ve had a report.”
“A report, Sir.”
You still don’t think poems are like doggies?
You still doubt me?
Then explain to me how come,
How come it is always just about then
That my poem drops my very best slippers
Right at the inspector’s feet.