For Example

by C.E. Chaffin

I do not recommend geniuses as role models:
Coleridge the laudanum king, 
Sylvia born too late for Auschwitz,
Roethke a manic ballerina in a bear’s body,
Hart Crane reciting to the cod,
Ernest sucking on a steel cigar,
Ginsberg hysterical naked procuring boys
or Pound blaming everything on the Jews.

Emily died a virgin without taking orders,
Sexton became the Jesus of the Housewives
then killed herself to fill the hollow.
(I don’t mean to devalue the drunkenness
of Berryman and Bukowski or forget
that Dylan Thomas drank himself to death
because he found it easier than poetry.)

No one wants to hear about a healthy genius,
because the world needs to believe
the great must suffer greatly, as if
only Icarus flew above those jealous eyes
and Daedelus never landed.

Previously published in Interface.