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The Poet

14 April, 2016: The Poet


by Lou Suarez


Some days a poet is like
a street drunk, begging for a few good lines
and a simple image, perhaps a bowl of oranges
or the smell of deep-fried fish in summer,
the sound of ice cracking beneath
a man's boots. But then

the image comes and is not enough.
He wants another and a few more lines
about the man he might have been
if only the stars had aligned differently,
if only his mother had gone to law school
or become a cosmetologist.

You see them everywhere,
their chins propped on their fists,
their eyes straining to see
truth slant, as Emily Dickinson put it,

which is why most wear glasses
and those who don't suffer withdrawal
headaches, like the addicts they would be
if not poets, snorting their
high-grade lines through a straw
purely for the high.

“The Poet” by Lou Suarez from Traveler, Poems. Midlist Press, 2010. Used by permission of the author.

Lou Suarez is the author of five poetry collections, including Losses of Moment, Ask, and Traveler. He holds the rank of Professor Emeritus at Lorain County Community College, where he taught courses in English and philosophy. Lou lives in Sheffield Lake, Ohio, with his wife Debby.


Throw-Back Thursday or Monday-Monday: Write a poem about something that happened to you on a day (not date) that seems significant, Monday or Thursday or any other day of the week, but state the day three times in the poem.

Tricia Knoll
Exactly. You nailed it.
4/19/2016 4:28:50 PM

Like this - a few good lines and an image

and then we want more.
4/14/2016 3:30:06 PM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.