Hanging with Poets & Politicians

Inside of every poet there is some craziness
like a magnet attracting
and repulsing.

Taylor Mali could probably write a really cool poem
 about the snowblower sitting in my driveway
on this warm spring day, 
but I bet he wouldn’t know 
how to start the damn thing;
he’d think it was a rototiller or something,
and I would have to shout,
”No, no! Out of my strawberries!”
and in the blue smoke of the ensuing chaos

Mary Oliver would return 
from her long walk
past old cloth mills,
carrying trinkets
of broken glass—
shards of memory 
and distant longing.

She will be surprised to find Seamus Heaney
drinking beer with Billy Bulger, 
quoting Homer, and lamenting the exodus
of the Irish from Boston.

The shadow of Emily Dickinson would move slowly 
away
from a broken pane 
in the eave of the attic room
in a wave of whispering lace.

Robert Frost squinting disdainfully
would tell me to just 
slow down, take a breath…
and throw all of this away.
(He is already annoyed 
by Walt Whitman’s incessant celebrating
with some guy in a bucket truck—
and my kids chalking up the driveway.)

For some strange reason,
 Allen Ginsburgh is crying on my back step,
while Gary Snyder sets up a pup tent 
beside my garden,
while Jack Kerouac shoots hoops and wonders 
what his mother is cooking for dinner.

Shakespeare’s friends are plastering 
posters on telephone poles,
while Shelley swims across 
the Assabet River
and holds a painted turtle
over a cold eddy.

Billy Collin’s dances to a scratchy jazz record 
and thinks he should write a poem about it.

Wendell Berry helps Taylor
snowblow my strawberries, 
and Wordsworth walks away
through a crack in the fence,

and Basho just laughs

and laughs

and laughs.

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