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My Poetic License
Chump Change

dreamed 2008/10/5 by Wayan

I stand in line (it's short, today)
at the State Department of Poetry
to renew my poetic license.

A tallish girl at the counter asks
"Who have you been reading, find
anyone good?" while typing my
application up. Not idle chat--she
lusts for new writers. For the SDP
hires thoughtful literate folk.

Does it surprise you? After all,
the staff can drive, at the DMV!
And this girl's sparse, sly repartee
hints she can really spin a simile.

Now it's time to pay, so I
open my mother's checkbook.
Out of work, sick and broke,
I had to ask my mom for a check
just to cover my license-fee.
Trusting, she handed me all.

But I worry--will the SDP
really accept my name
on her check? If not, well,
no freewheel metaphors for me--
they've upped the fines again.

And don't even think about
drunk rhyming, Li Po! No more

Comedy Doggerel School! Just jail,
then bureaucratic gobbledygook
for life, with no appeal.

Oh, great! My mother's book is all
out of blank checks. So I
must put off my renewal, crawl
back to my mom and beg.

I blush, ashamed to stand before
this cute and clever girl,
unable to pay my own way.
And it's a mere seven
thousand bucks!
Just chump change, today.

Digital sketch of a dream by Wayan: a line of poets renewing their poetic license at the State Department of Poetry.


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