by Steve Lambert

“He’s one of these Englishman of the welfare state who writes self-effacing poems about how much he hates his record collection. That’s not what we need. We need something that will affirm the basic possibility. This self-effacing stuff is so goddamn easy, it’s tiresome.”
-James Dickey on Philip Larkin, Paris Review. The Art of Poetry No. 20.

My office at night is a suitable salve.
My books lie about the shores of it,
like faggot bathers, self-effacing, cocksure,
and my boxes of records hulk in its hollows
like impotent, tiresome haints. Like the prettiest
girl at school, a place has to mistreat you a
little before you can properly fall in love
with it. This modest space, tucked into a
labyrinth of blush-colored houses and
adolescent trees feels like home now.
I’ve acquired a taste for the painfully innocuous,
have learned to appreciate the nuances of
ordinary, good like an English Bitter, and mild.

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