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Mike Alexander




Into the fray of metrical debate,

stage right! Here comes the erstwhile academic:

a horde of vandals surges at the gate.

Barbarians! A verbal epidemic

against which poetry must vaccinate.

The doctor-scribe prescribes a fierce polemic.

Only the strictest, most Socratic cure

will do to keep the tribal language pure.


So much excites his dire ridicule.

So many fools inspire his derision.

The problem — as he sees it — is the school

of liberality, of lax permission,

the dumbing-down of the genetic pool….

He mourns an age brought up on television —

a generation that so oft forgets 

which lines are Romeo's, which Juliet's.


The pages of the formal magazines

are not immune to signs of putrefaction,

the feminists & leftists sporting jeans,

schismatic critics who oppose his faction,

& others who aspire beyond their means,

have robbed him of his hard-won satisfaction.

When anyone can publish, what's the use?

How separate oneself from Dr. Seuss? 


A poem must be regular, must kick

goose-step iambics, straight; no substitution 

to mar the proper metronomic tick.

The rhymes must match, per textbook elocution; 

to slant, one proves oneself a heretic. 

The doctor thus arrives at this solution:

to blast all other poets from the shelf.

Meta-metaphysician, heal thyself.

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