A little background to this poem. I was teaching a writing workshop, some years ago on how to write sex and violence to a group of extramural Creative Writing students who were at an on-campus course. A publisher from Wellington was one of our guest lecturers. He is the country's top publisher of poetry, and he joked with me that I could be doing him a favour with the class, since what he was after was not more poems but racy stories. This piece arose from that conversation. It amused Roger, anyway.

What I want,
the publishing man said,
is lots more sex and violence,
but NO poetry.

So, naturally, I simpered,
made a heroic attempt
to bat stunted eyelashes,
let a finger drift upward
to trace the line
of the feathered jaw.
In a carefully cultivated,
husky rasp, I drawled
Like this, you mean?

He shook his head. I like to
think he might have spoken,
explained further, if my fist,
balled tight, hard as
rejection, swift as criticism,
hadn't taken him under
the ribs and evicted
his breath.

When I had finished
kicking him, and he lay,
gasping, floundering -
a landed fish, with
purple pansies
blossoming on his skin
where I'd made my points
most forcefully, I bent down
and politely enquired,
Then does that hit the spot?

It seemed not. He struggled
to his feet, prodded himself
gingerly with careful fingertips
and backed away, silent,
his eyes fixed upon me.
He stumbled over
furniture as he went.

So, dejected, I came home
and wrote a poem.

Pub"lish*er (?), n.

One who publishes; as, a publisher of a book or magazine.

For love of you, not hate unto my friend, Hath made me publisher of this pretense. Shak.


© Webster 1913.

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