Bland Bones

An unapologetic rebuttal to the praise of Maggie Smith’s poem “Good Bones” and, generally speaking, the poetry publishing world at large.

Life is too short for
flavorless poems
a dime a thousand, ill-advised
and to be kept from children
lest they prematurely age into
cynics, or worse,
instagram poets.
The published poetry world is at least
fifty percent terrible,
and that is not a
culture-vulture’s estimate.
For every such Aryan-Carrion bird
there is a
hundred bones to be picked at
by the more modern among us.
For every adored confessional poem, I confess
another mediocre poem
too many, sunken into its own
bland language, collapsing as it is
eaten up with terminal
osteoporosis. Life is short and
the poetic world is at least half
blandness, and for every trite poem
in the collective consciousness,
there is a thousand that would
benefit from
humbling sobriety and
iconoclastic terrorists.
A kind stranger might do well to
break you
from your banal habit of beautification.
Nor can subversion save unremarkable
imagery or diction. It is not that
is not beautiful,
such as any fragrant flower
wilting and dissolving into
but that your perfume is nothing more than
vanilla extract
being celebrated by Lotus Eaters
who have forgotten, in this time of
accessibility excess,
the stress-test standards of
and so deprive their children
of a world not sold to
suburban planning and
the lowest common denominator.
The poetic world is a real
and nothing about its
bland bones
could ever redeem the
dead pledge of its
mortgage rates,
even as pretentious publishing elites
lounge arrogantly alongside
Motel 6 swimming pools.
Just like in the realty market,
anyone can be a poet,
but that does not mean that
any of them know what they are
blathering about
while touring the downtown neighborhood,
nor does it prevent the next
market bubble
when all such propped-up poems
collapse under their own
oversold listing price.
Even if you can talk up
good bones
it does not mean that you
have a good foundation to start with.
It is, at best,
affordable housing
with a vista into your neighbor’s
backyard, which happens to be
identical to your own.
You could make this poem beautiful,
you would only make it