We sat around the campfire, my friend and I,
drinking cheap Scotch in direct violation of the rusted “No Alcohol” signs
posted around the campsite.
I stared at the night sky and listened
to the popping and sizzling of branches in the fire
while he read some highbrow university poetry journal.
He wrapped the magazine’s pages around its spine and showed me one of the published pieces: several paragraphs consisting entirely of words that had been blacked out like redacted statements in a declassified government document.
“Brilliant, no? What do you think?”
“I think it’s horseshit that’s not worth the ink used in printing it.”
“Gawd man, you’re such a philistine.” He shook his head and returned to reading.
He may be right.
I am a doctor, after all,
not a poet.
He’s the one who studied English
at a prestigious liberal arts college.
But the way I see it,
if you have a message to share,
then share the goddamn message.
Cut the flowery metaphors, obscure symbolism, and ostentatious allusions;
give me a straightforward sentence.