Poem

(The poem registers my aversion to a certain kind of free-form experimental poetry. Published in Ghosts, The Linnet’s Wings, 2016)

Too earnest, he said, and wilfully obscure. It's no more
than chopped prose. This could be just what we're looking for.

It was sort of an experiment, I said.
I simply wrote the first thing that came into my
head. I tried not to rhyme.

It's perfect, he said, it's got the lot,
nonce words, archaisms, a learnèd polyglot.
Gratuitous macaronics and puns abound.
It'll win an award or I'm Ezra Pound.

I did my best, I said. I I tried to delete
from my memory all I knew about
scansion, metre and poetic feet.

Feet? he said. This poem's got legs, 
it could run and run. There's just one 
thing though. The look of it.
Square blocks of text. Too neat. 
Couldn't you jazz it up a bit?
Make it more sort of Beat?

You mean like this? I said
And took from my briefcase
another      version       full of
           random
                         empty
space

That's it! he said. Now it's done.
All it needs is a title. Have you got one?

I have, I said. I'm calling it Poem.
If readers don't know what it is they're reading, 
well, that'll show 'em.

I'm moved, he said, tears springing to his eyes. 
So simple, so apt. Deserves the Nobel fuckin Prize.