(working on an analysis of this one… it’s one of my favorites)

mastering the art of poetry

make sure you have everything
you will need
on hand:

pen     paper     of computer keyboard
dictionary     thesaurus     scissors (surgical)
tape     first-aid kit     plastic wrap
feathers     candles     clothespins
gag     rope     handcuffs
an assortment of whips
from fat thudding floggers
to bitey braided cats
maybe a wooden paddle
rubbing alcohol
piercing sharps
scalpel
a cane or two
and a riding crop.

got everything?
good.

negotiate,
negotiate,
negotiate.

if you want your poem to beg or struggle,
make that clear.
listen to your poem’s desires
and get ready

to be powerful and terrible.
your poem is quivering in front of you
and your iron will
as it kisses the collar you hold.

begin

start
slowly.

gradually.

maybe a little stroking, teasing pinches, a few
words chosen
carefully
go a long way.

now escalate.
if you started with your
gentlest, sweetest metaphor,
it’s time to build up to something a little
harder.

feel it? your poem opening up, reeling,
writhing, relinquishing control?
good.

take it right to the edge of what it can stand
then back off
then right to the edge
and back off again
up to a farther edge
as your poem swells
with the marks you leave on its skin

one thank you master
two thank you master
three thank you master

as you push it, drag it, hold it down
raise it up

THANK YOU MASTER

tell your poem
“you’re about to get a verb you’ll never forget, you little slut.”

tell your poem,
“I want to hear you scream.”

tell your poem
“you only get forty more words, you greedy bitch!”
and when it has taken all it can bear

hold that precious poem close
show it how much it has pleased you
and rest.  give it your name
and kiss it
goodnight.

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