Sometimes I would walk down
Riverside Drive by Ulysses Grant’s Tomb,
stopping at Barnes & Noble
on Broadway and 82nd Street
to use their clean restroom.
Last year I browsed through Poetry,
feeling depressed at about 800 volumes.
I had read a few of the poets:
Dante, Homer, Pushkin, and Frost,
yet there were many new scribblers
I did not know, spending an hour
perusing unalleviated, drab nonsense.
I stopped by again a year later
with faint memories of melted snow
filling mental corners of my cerebellum
like fuzzy, gray, dust bunnies.
The cold metal chairs were welcome.
When I checked the Poetry Section,
the roster of players was reduced to seventeen.
Homer’s Odyssey was still there
and a collection of Bukowski’s blathering boasts.
The other fifteen were recent unknowns.
I wanted to ask the Ever-living Muse
if Homer will be there next year,
but the Muse was comatose bored.
She pointed out a local bar
where if I had the money,
I might discover what it’s like
to be lively words without a house,
as often happened to wandering Odysseus.
Ah, the grand futility of poetry
in times of intense tragedy
must revert to irreverent comedy!