The Poet is a subversive barbarian at the city gates. . . – Lawrence Ferlinghetti
I dress in the skins of sonnets, wear
thin couplets for shoes. I approach
your gates with free verse held high
to my heathen god. I sing with a voice
like a pantoum looking for a mate,
smell of smoke from fires stoked
with dry bones of villanelles. My feral
hair bristles like an ekphrastic pelt.
From my bag of gutted metaphor,
I draw out words round as river stones,
one by one fit them into my slingshot,
send them soaring into your city streets.
Will you stack the words, build a stairway
to the top of the gate, escape? Or collect
the stones where they fall to earth, drill
holes, string around your neck as a talisman
of desire? Maybe you kick them out of your path,
syllables stuttering into the gutter,
tell yourself, “I can’t go home smelling
of terza rima.” This is our ancient game.
I rattle your cage. You pretend not to hear.
But at night, you can’t sleep: I dance,
and the sky rains stones.