Skinny Poem

The New Republic

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POETRY OCTOBER 8, 2013

Skinny Poem

write some skinny poems—
James Schuyler

Life is rough, as
Rough as you make it.
Is it better to be the
Best at something, or is a
Gentleman’s C enough,
At least occasionally?
I used to think it was—
I used to think whatever
Felt like thought was sheer
Pleasure, but I’m old now:
It’s all edges, edges and
Scraps, like a collage.
I thought that continuity
Was everything, and now I
Think it’s a mirage, like a
Sound-effect or an echo,
A reflection of what flows
Inexorably beneath.  “Man
Is the measure of all things”:
Protagoras.  Plato refuted
Him, to no avail—you can’t
Argue with a blank stare:
“Here I stand.”  I hate poems
Of affirmation, poems too
Unaware, too smooth
To be true. Life is rough.

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