Ode to an Offended Fellow Poet

(after Horace Ode 1.16 O matre pulchra)

Ignore my email, trash my sarky poem.
Don’t forward junk, it just makes matters worse.
My God, but you’re your father’s son all right.
Shred the bloody thing!

No women’s writing groups, no gender mags
cause laddish authors’ droop: they still perform.
No one-too-many, washed-up poetry coach
bangs on quite this much.

Your anger’s grabbed you firmly by the balls.
No heated row or threat of sharp reviews,
no casting you adrift from writing circles
makes you shut your trap.

What’s said about your poetry isn’t true
despite the buzz.  If God’s name doesn’t calm you
nothing will because you’ve got yourself
into a write frenzy.
I’ve warned you lots of times about the critics,
the freaks who make and break us at a stroke,
but you can’t wait to take things to the line;
fire everything up.

The spicy sauce you drizzle on their plate
is not enough to hide your thinned-out verse.
They’ll bring you down and tear you limb from limb
then hang you out to dry.

They’ll make you eat your words: And this idea,
this view you hold, that most things go my way,
for me the sun will literally reverse,
it drives you red with rage.

Your work is strong, but fury grinds you down.
You plumb the depths and turn your students off.
You need to warm your words or see your class
razed to the ground.

I’ll dump the worst of verse, (that’s yours, not mine!)
Recycle poems, take back all I’ve said.
We must be friends again: bad blood got me
when I was your age too!


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