Didn’t you place the whoopee cushion on my chair with jokester flair?
Didn’t I praise your ears, your serious hair? Love the fuschia lipstick
a biographer swore you wore in the company of men?
Didn’t I wear the exact same hue as you?
Were you not meant to be a poet god? Communion and last rites
on holy nights writ large? Wasn’t your work a sung hymn?
A Sunday psalm chanted on the page, as in the vaulted nave?
Shouldn’t I behave? Be brave as you were, working in the dreary bank?
Didn’t I thank you? Write this? This set down?
Roll my trousers, wander town? Weren’t you the gentle suffering thing
the American innocent, sans bling, who held a peach within your guilty reach?
Didn’t I dare to eat the fruit you feared to taste?
Wander with you through the wasted streets at six o’clock?
Come to your reading, mimicking your step?
I love your sad delay, your inner dread, your literary craft
the top hat on your head, your quirky poet’s bed.
Weren’t your nerves as bad as Vivien’s at night? What did you say?
The world’s too bright? Too dead? Must I douse the light you shed
on Sweeney erect? What do you expect? Must I now genuflect?
How I love your talent for despair, and indecision
Repetition. And internal rhyme. Is my devotion to you such a crime
as you would have me gone? Can I be wrong?
Didn’t you say the gate of truth would never close?
In the cathedral, didn’t you bow, pull up your hose and vow your life
Win a poet’s crown? This set down? Devote your time to verse?
Might I do worse?