Miller Williams

Sitting in a Bar After a Poetry Reading

óThe Turn of a Century

Today may be as good a day as any
to come to terms with what we know is true.
There may be some who have.  There may be many.
None of them can tell us what to do.

You sit at the center of nothing.  Squint as you will,
youíll never talk your way out of this.
You could just keep your mouth shut.  Still,
silence has an eloquence.  You may miss

the point of what Iím trying to say here.
But thatís the point.  To put it all together
you have to take it apart.  If I appearó
what do I want to say?óas if another

intelligence has made its home in my head,
it doesnít matter.  Whoever has control
will say whatever serves by being said.  
The sum of the parts is greater than the whole

when what weíre talking about is literatureó
poetry in particularóand how extremely
important it seems to be when itís obscure.
Although to say it seems somewhat unseemly

itís hard to do something hard and make it look easy,
which may be why itís done by very few.
The famous poet today, adroit as you please, he
made look hard what any drunk can doó

conceal a meaning in sound.  But Iím afraid
Iíve thrown my one chance to make it away.
I wanted to show you how a poem is made,
but you may have understood what I meant to say.


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G. Fisher