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David M. Harris

Poetry Cops

They come to the door and flash
badges. The tall one, the ponytail
and the denim jacket,
Sandburg's face stitched on the back,
asks politely,
"Could you show us
your poetry?"
The other, shorter,
broader, more like Gertrude
Stein, snorts and sneers.
At the kitchen table
refusing coffee
they examine notebooks,
loose printouts. They
mutter and make notes.
Finally they look at me.
The good cop says, "Not too bad."
The tough one talks of faulty
rhymes, dysfunctional meter, inept
lineation, enjambement and caesura.
"We'll let you off with
a warning, but pay
more attention to your craft."
Shaken but relieved,
I promise to do better
and watch them ring
a neighbor's bell.


The last black snow seeps into the sewer.
Tables bloom on Bleecker Street.
A student notes a haze
of green on the trees below, changes
her mind: short aqua skirt and yellow scooped blouse,
unveiling her to the unfamiliar sun, dazzling
the memories of the old men.

©2011 by David M. Harris

Now that he's got an MFA in fiction, David M. Harris is concentrating on writing poetry. He also teaches writing at assorted colleges in the Nashville area, and takes care of a great many animals. Some recent credits include poems in Smashcake, Pirene's Fountain, and The Pedestal, and an essay in Poets & Writers.

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