Lit Crit by Peter Crowley

the writer’s sapphire
though apostate to
the editor,
who conducts adjectival
ethnic cleansing

The air should be as it is.
Not amorphous,
pollen-replete, warming,
hallucinogenic or stultified.
The person shouldn’t be
awe-inspiring, loquacious,
demeaning, exploitative
or a bore.
They should simply fit
into employment application checkboxes–
gay or straight, black
white or Hispanic.
And they should probably have
tattoos, use drugs or have
interesting sex

Sentences should be short and get to
the point–as encouraged by Microsoft
Word, an aspirational device
meant to transform humanity into
robotic algorithms,
just as the disease-ridden early states
turned hunter-gatherer’s mobility into

But that’s just how it is these days.
That’s what you and I want,
even we who are ingesters of literature.
Because we will never read the whole
poem or short story if it doesn’t
meet certain checkbox criteria or fails to
alight the same reflexive dopaminergic
neurons that blaze fireworks
from Facebook likes
and Twitter retweets.
We want our literature like
McDonald’s: a greasy meal
for the whole family
that leaves one bloated
after eating and hungry an hour later.

Is this Dostoevsky? Not quite.
It’s more a consumptive assortment of words feigning as literature,
loaded with exorbitant amounts of butter, salt and cheese.
Or else, checkbox dreams are realized, bereft of
It sort of looks like Donald Trump’s id: quick, easy and in a crib.

One thought on “Lit Crit by Peter Crowley

  1. You must have checked my box, because I made it all the way through — and enjoyed it too, albeit with a dictionary to loosen things up a bit. I know what you mean, though, about our age’s characteristic resistance to reading things through (poems, novels, or blogs). A solitary traveler (from the Age of Aquarius to the Age of Ephemera).

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