No Young Man's Craft


Good, but maybe not so good
as he thinks he is
, says the retired professor
sipping merlot at the Fickle Peach
in answer to Rob’s query,
set to the dull smack of billiards:
So, how good a poet is my little brother?

To prove him right, I wander free
of Yeats’ Sailing to Byzantium,
which this Greek-bearded professor quotes
rhyme on rhyme from memory,
my ears slack, my eyes drawn more
to the doggerel of a passing cleavage line.

Then for no reason, I start to think
about the Tibetan singing bowl I bought,
how I tried to write about it
but spelled bowel instead of bowl,
so days later, I still smile at the thought.
My little place alive with the hum

of Tibetan bowels—great ones
shaped from hand-hammered bronze.
Mine come from Nepal and weigh 188 grams.
On the inside of my bowels,
someone wrote om mani padme hum.
Cherry blossoms wreath the outer rim.

With the help of a mallet, my bowels
produce multiphonic and polyharmonic overtones.
My bowels also came with a free cushion,
kind of beige with golden trim,
and were designed to align my Chakras
by emitting a steady C note.

According to customer reviews,
my bowels possess antique charm, good sheen,
and a gentle, mellowing spirit.
They can also be rung like gongs
with the aid of a wool-wrapped striker.
But this requires almost no skill.

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About Author

Michael Meyerhofer’s third book, Damnatio Memoriae, won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest. His previous books are Blue Collar Eulogies (Steel Toe Books) and Leaving Iowa (winner of the Liam Rector First Book Award). He has also won the James Wright Poetry Award, the Laureate Prize, the Annie Finch Prize for Poetry, the Marjorie J. Wilson Best Poem Contest, and five chapbook prizes. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, North American Review, Arts & Letters, River Styx, Quick Fiction and other journals, and can be read online at his website.

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