“Purgatory” by Carolyn Martin

can’t be much worse than this:
sitting in the second row while the poet–
featured tonight for reasons only
the emcee knows–fumbles through a notebook
for the next offering he’ll serve up
in a voice that hovers somewhere between
pseudo-humility and arrogance
as he alludes to obscure Italian history
and no one has a clue so I’m free
to tune out everything but my mind
conversing with itself about a metaphor
that may–or not–redeem a line of verse.

He closes his book fifteen minutes
after he should, having warned us
three times we’d only have to bear
a few more poems–as if that would relieve
the strain of the clock winding down
and my urge to bolt for home where I’ll throw
my coat on a kitchen chair, grab my yellow pad,
and ponder where to add a new terrace
to the Purgatorio–somewhere, perhaps,
on the mountainside above the proud,
below the envious–devised for bloaters
of words and those who feign applause.


2 thoughts on ““Purgatory” by Carolyn Martin

  1. Oh I love it even better after I saw the rendition of the levels. You continue to amaze me!!

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