by Doug Flaherty
If invited to my house, kindly park in spaces
marked POETRY LOVERS ONLY. Violators
will be towed away in chains to the Dark Tower.
Giant speakers will churn out iambic pentameter
until morning when you beg for terza rima.
But Terza Rima is on sabbatical this semester.
Her half blood sister Spondee of the Deep will
assuage your terror and rescind all violations.
Ring the bell and remove all clothing. Proper attire
will be furnished in the pre-bellum ante-room.
One of you will be given a Darth Vader full body
armor suit regardless of gender or skin color.
Another guest shall be dressed as Barbie, regardless
of anatomical correctness. Late arrivals, please
fight over the remaining costumes befitting
Jesus, Oscar Wilde, or Emily Dickinson. You will
be given fortune cookies containing hand signed
images by Ezra Pound. Magnetic poetry
is on the refrigerator. Edgar Allan Poe
cocktails are in the drawing room. Scrabble
winners will receive copies of Edgar Guest
and Joyce Kilmer as a lesson in abject humility.
Of course, even verse must come with a price—
we don’t accept American Express. But everybody
has to pay the poetry piper—ass, grass, or gas.
No words will ever be cheerfully refunded.

Doug Flaherty's poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The
Nation, Harvard Review, North American Review and scores of
other journals. He has published four books and half a dozen
chapbooks, and his work is included in 11 anthologies.