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On My Literary Failure

The poem I’ve written isn’t good enough.

It surely won’t win an award,

be published in a magazine

or make the list of “Selected Verse.”

I don’t even know why I wrote it.

There was nothing inspiring me,

no thoughts of a long-past love,

no longing for a present-day face.

To tell the truth, I was too tired

to write anything at all,

had considered going to bed early

and not worrying myself about writing

a poem – good or otherwise.

The problem is that not only is this poem

not good, it isn’t even mediocre.

It’s one of my lousier offerings, to be frank,

and the fact that I’m even writing it at all

breaks the unwritten rule

about penning too many poems

about writing poems,

since poems about poems

shows that the poet was too lazy

and uninspired

to actually write about something


and instead took the easy way out.

For it’s clear there’s no metaphor here

or clever devices that poets use.

I’m just whipping out words

with very little effort and it shows.

It fully deserves the rejection slips

it will undoubtedly encounter

throughout its many travels.

It will be the filler poem,

the last one shoved into the envelope

to make the submission an even five.

It will be the spare one,

the one that’s always unpublished

and ready to go

if an editor friend needs one,

on short notice,

for their third-rate Journal/Anthology,

the one the better-known poets

will never bother to send to.

The kind you don’t want to waste

your “good” poems on.

I’ll pretend I wrote it just for that,

and that I made a special effort

to do so, getting up at 3 a.m.,

stepping lightly on my toes

so as not to awaken the cat,

and making a cup

of warm milk in the process

because it’s an ungodly hour

to drink something stronger.

That after a sip or two,

I chose to pour it

over a bowl of cereal

since breakfast

was only a few hours away

and I needed the strength to finish.

That I struggled until dawn

over every word, comma,


and if a rival poet that I know

happens to see this wretched piece,

I’ll blame an overcast sky

for its vapid state,

its piss-poor stanzas,

spoiling the sunrise I was waiting for

and a subject other than this,

saying my poem about the night

yielding to day,

about the ever-elusive muse

I nearly caught,

would have been glorious

if not for that.

Andreas Gripp

Andreas Gripp

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