Feel-good poetry makes me gag
like too many cloying sweets
from a child’s Trick or Treat bag,
the sugar snowing along the streets.
These inspirational poets always wear
masks, as if everyday is Halloween,
believing they are laying themselves bare
when their costumes are all that can be seen.
Like Barbie and Ken with painted-on smiles
as they pen a Mattel-stamped phrase,
they go house to house, in various styles,
but without substance— a plastic craze.
I like to get at the meat of the matter
and tell you that, beneath the snazzy outfit
and the feel-good optimist’s chatter
you don’t know much about shit.
You use images that are bland and cliche
like a Jack O Lantern squatting by the door,
and when lit up at the end of the day
your empty head can’t illume much more.
And your downer poetry gags me worse
with its Haunted House melodrama—
Wait, are you joy-riding in a black hearse?
No? Regardless, I do not believe your trauma.
You wear sadness like an oversized sheet,
moaning like a ghost given to dreary airs,
meanwhile you trip with your feet
as you drag your sheet up the stairs.
And maybe you loiter a while in the cemetery,
using a Ouija board to prompt your muse,
or, looking in a mirror, you say “Bloody Mary”
while hoping she can give you some clues.
But for all that, I can be an optimist too
and I am given to hope, much the same,
because sooner or later they will bury you
and the real monsters will devour your fame.