Pinsky's Jacket

In early October, the Massachusetts Poetry Festival happened. It was the first one – and I was proud to have been a part of making it happen. But a few days after the last reading, an email went out to the conference organizers: Robert Pinsky, former poet laureate, was missing his jacket. Had anyone seen it?

Inexplicably a poem came to my fingers, fully formed, like Athena sprouting from Zeus’ head. This is an unusual occurrence. I have written perilously few poems in my life, and only three that really qualify for me as true Poems. And here appeared a fourth! A little clumsy, perhaps. Lacking a certain grace. But undeniable a poem, effortless in its own way. Which was both a delight and a disappointment. Shouldn’t poems require effort? Without further ado:

Pinsky’s Jacket

It fits fine,
although there is a slight tightness under the armpit,
and I might add some sequins to its broad shoulders,
perhaps spelling out POET or just WARRIOR,
and when I put it on I pat the pockets
looking for something to surprise me,
a delightful surprise, a poetry-infected pen in the
left breast inside pocket, or a few crumbs of
inspired prosody left behind in the right front side,
a slight scent of a muse of fire left high on the lapel;
although all in all it squeezes my frame,
maybe not such a fine fit after all,
more of a pot-bellied pig in biker’s spandex,
people glance at me on the street and avert their eyes,
aware i am uncomfortable
wearing a poet’s jacket.

– nicco mele –

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