The Timid Poet

Microphone passes hand to hand
around the anthology of poets
hoping to impress with words
that dance and sing,
confound reason and pierce hearts.

Tinder photos and book jacket head shots
promise good times, fun and adoration,
as well as fear of being swiped out of existence.
First date and job interview,
the mic looms, threatens to expose
one’s talent not as high-priced escort
but more the whore slapping on paint
to hide warts for the few clock ticks
you’ve been granted to sell yourself.

It’s a danger to the thin paper screen
disguising a dearth of self-worth
as enlightened humility.
But it’s also invitation
to the debutante’s ball,
to prove you matter,
an invitation to let the elixir
of words carefully squeezed
from the fruit of life
and strained onto blank page
prove they’re more than snake oil.

The mic beckons, beguiles…
Do you, timid poet, wave it off as menace,
as seraphim’s burning coal,
and refuse to risk revelation?
Or do you seize the lifeline
and, hoping not to drown,
dive into the surf of discovery?

©2020 Kenneth W. Arthur