David Spicer: “Elegy to a Poet Whose Entire Oeuvre I’ve Read Since His Death”

Elegy to a Poet Whose Entire Oeuvre I’ve Read Since His Death

Thomas Lux, 1946-2017                                      

Over four hundred poems in three months—
books, magazines, a few broadsides.
Funny, I didn’t read your work when

you graced the world with poems,
one of which had insulted my
own poetic hero by calling him a dumb

fucker for shooting himself three times.
Others employed hackneyed tricks
learned at a midwestern Mecca that scores

of genius writers flock to like
sheep nibbling the ambitious corn.
I forgot your poems existed, ignored

them like an arrogant fool.
Then, when you died, I asked
myself what I had missed. Too much:

surreal bodies of water, mischievous boys
fishing, arcane facts about cows and lichen,
trees that shined like jewels, a brilliant heart.

Dead poet, I’m sorry I snubbed
your poems like so many peppermint
jawbreakers bad for teeth. My loss.

I missed too many gems in the necklace,
but now I thank you for those rivers
of diamonds that will flow forever.


David Spicer has had poems in Chiron Review, Poppy Road Review, Mocking Heart Review, Alcatraz, Gargoyle, The Drunken Llama, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. He is the author of Everybody Has a Story and four chapbooks, and is the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books.

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