In Defense of Lesser Poets Like Myself / Mark Flanigan


Our failure is not a failure
at all, merely
a last-minute train ride
without tracks, destination?:
Atlantis, a place no longer
believed in; it’s like
an unpublished page, a lecture
in an empty auditorium
without either sound or light;
it’s like a body
pulling on a rope
with a weight
twice its own,
   the quarry unknown
and unknowable.

It has something to do with
no longer being able to
   know or believe in
the whole story, understanding this
limitation, a certain acquiescence,
relying only on instinct, intuition—
and we take these small things
and we speak of the little poetry
   that still blesses our lives
and though it may not seem like much
standing, as it has to, next to
a full-scale map, albeit one
   of a smaller world,
no it may not seem like much
   to Homer or Milton or Shelley
but all the same, somehow,
   it seems like everything
   to us, the lesser poets,
these small moments stamped
   into Time’s sands,
futile footsteps made surely
to be washed away by the tides
   of Poetry,
when, at last, It shall
sweep clean our landscape
one final time, disappearing,
and taking with it our
   last vestige of Truth
   last trail to Perfection
   last guide to Atlantis
   last Poet,
whether epic or lesser
no longer being of concern.








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