To Mediocrity

I know you’re here somewhere
hugging your guitar on a subway platform
behind my eyes, the old duct-taped case
holding together, open

at your feet, empty except for the two
crumpled bills you threw in yourself
like a couple of tentative hand-claps
that have failed to ignite any applause.

You have been here for some time, keeping
time with your one ratty sneaker
in this place where excellence is trains
running on time, and new books coming out

thunderously and often. I can feel it
worrying the blow-away papers
congregating in your untidy corner
where you stand and sway, kissing

your harmonica. Plainly you’re in love
with your own breath, your own heartbeat,
your own voice. And I want nothing
to do with that song. I just want to step

into my excellent train, smart new book
under my arm, hear the doors swish shut
behind me, and leave you and your crooning
earnest face behind my face behind.

[BIO]: Paul is the author of four books of poetry.

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