Michael Dwayne Smith

Poem with Little Riffs on Oscar Wilde, Ann Leshy Wood, Lisa Marr, and Some Memes

Poetry is not tribalism. Communist jokes
are not funny unless everyone tells them.

Poetry is too important to be taken seriously.
Take a moment for joy— poems are

blunder blessing and found fortune. Mine
also “strange little music boxes.”

Their imperfections are my greatest asset
in a digital world where calculated

indignation is the new sincerity.
The online self is a curated self.

The poem, also, is a curated self.
I don’t know why I’m here. You can’t

explain a poem— you have to witness it.
Social media exists and time is not

going to kill itself: Pat Robertson flails
and rails about Obama lesbian witches.

Liberty versus Industry: you know who wins.
Maybe this poem is a monkey from the future.

Maybe the future is pretty pissed off.
Meanwhile, a pasture dreams of horses.

Meanwhile, the negative effect of using
marijuana… is having less marijuana.

But we will not take stones for eyes!
Weighing over four hundred pounds,

this is the heart of a blue whale. Or a gravy
hot tub at the White-is-Right

Motor Lodge. Now you see: I’ve always
been my own worst enemy. I cruise

down to Rancho Cucamonga
to photograph suburban ghosts

and homeless street preachers.
My safety word is “harder.” Nobody came

here tonight to watch me write poems
that don’t matter for people who shatter

endlessly. Poetry is not tribalism.
And I am the Velvet Elvis in this poem.