The wind chimes lie shattered and tangled in the mud.
Nearby, a nightingale lies mangled in her blood;
a free-verse shotgun shell rolls empty on the floor.
Outside, a shingle swings above the guarded door.
For a logo: a silhouette with earmuffs on its head.
For a motto: “Preference is given to non-rhyming poetry.”
(Now that anti-metric sentence is senseless—literally.)
We prefer poetry that’s—sound-wise—ordinary.
Remember, all ye enter here: your readers
have no bodies; they have no ears. Who cares?
Abandon their flesh; all that matters is their dread
of feeling old-fashioned. So, attend to their minds.
Ditch that nightingale and all her warbling kind—
your Keatses and Yeatses and St. Vincent Milays.
All that rhyming and timing will surely drive away
the modern subscriber, who’s muse-ic averse;
for whom a poem should be prose—no matter that it’s verse;
for whom the words the poet chooses should fall like fine turds
upon the page, brown and soundless, cooked feelings on display.
Oh, the inn is fully booked, but we might find a room.
Just pay your submission fees and do not assume
that your readers can hear what you say.

Published in Spank the Carp, 2021