A Successful Poet Is Selling Poetry
He has really nailed it this time, he is fairly sure. No matter what the workshop junkies said about his old “limpdick collection.” Forget all those auto-rejections from Poetry magazine. (Nearby, Pike Place salesman smack halibuts down on ice.) He’s got a whole new approach this time, and these babies are jaunty as hell. His talent’s leaping all over the page, even Karen wouldn’t disagree. (A few feet away a man props up a crate of rhubarb.) He checks his cell phone. No calls. It is 5:36am.
He arranges his books in a semi-circle. Rearranges them in a grid. He stacks some of them like festive party napkins, off-kilter. He smiles very big, like a poet. It is a beautiful day, he reminds himself, to be a poet. And he’s really done it. Bound his work himself, scratched a title—Limericks, Contemporary—in a pink pen onto every cover. He stares into the sun. Clutches an old dog collar in his pocket. Today, or by the end of the week at least, everyone will take him very seriously.
(He will be selling poetry on the corner of Pike & 1st for as long as the sun holds.)
The World Is Ending (in Divorce)
HA HA he exclaimed HA HA
as he stuffed an old shirt with straw.
Drew a smiling face.
Set a dinner place.
Then he saw what the scarecrow saw.
My dog is very shy.
Won’t bark at the mail guy.
When I call his name,
he hides all the same!
It’s crazy to think that one day he, like each of us upon this dancing planet, will die.
Poet of the Year
My favorite poet smokes a pipe
and his sideburns are like racing stripes.
His Pontiac, indeed,
has never been keyed.
All day he just smiles and laughs and types.
Some Compliments from My Friends
Hilarious, you are so hilarious!
I never met a man this gregarious.
Your style is great,
and your face I don’t hate.
And your writing, especially various.
Kayaking in Lake Washington
“It’s better than therapy,” I crow
when my gym buddy pauses his show.
“Water’s sliced by the boat
like my ex’s bare throat.”
I laugh, “That’s a joke, hey don’t—”
All Therapy is Rehabilitative or Preventative
My therapist’s named is Jan
and she says I have planned a good plan:
One, work on my rages.
Two, finish these pages.
Three, don’t vandalize Karen’s van.
A Trip to the Grocery Store
Need milk and cereal, sea salt, rope,
kale, canned beans, a pillowcase, soap,
chocolate chips, a jar of whey,
chloroform, dry chardonnay,
beef stock, cherries, Bisquick, cantaloupe…
My ideation is out of whack.
Jan says to cut myself some slack.
is in shock therapy
is just that, a dream. I won’t crack.
Missing You (and Your Queso Dip Recipe)
I’m going to get really slim
at the gym, did I mention the gym?
I have been working out.
Oh, and I downloaded Klout!
Just some changes. I miss you. Love, Jim
We Regret to Inform You
We regret to inform you that your
autobiographical novel’s a bore.
And why does the wife
die and come back to life
and die twice? Please don’t write anymore.
Ode to the Limerick
To a poet a poem can be
as real as you or me!
he is single again,
a limerick is good (your physical warmth your smell the gentle golden curve Oh) company.
He rowed and rowed and rowed
and rowed and rowed and rowed.
And rowed and rowed
and rowed and rowed
and he never budged. He rowed.
Tyler McCabe lives in Seattle and works as the director of programs at the literary and arts quarterly Image. His nonfiction has been honorably mentioned in Best American Essays and most recently placed in The Other Journal and in a forthcoming book about the television series Breaking Bad through Bloomsbury Academic. He also loves Twitter and would love to virtually meet you: @tylermccabe