The Missing Poet’s Lounge

In memoriam Weldon Kees and Lew Welch


In the missing poets’ lounge, a sad man

Tickles the piano, key by cold key,

Thinking, all the time, of his escape plan.


He spreads his long fingers into a fan,

Drops a chord, exhales smoke. He wants to see

What he’s missing. Poet’s lounge, young sad men


Looking too cool. One watched since he began

Playing. He snapped his fingers far too quickly,

Thinking in double time. He had his own plan


For getting out, he knew. The second hand

Ticks loud. He strikes a note. Could all these be

Missing poets? The lounge seemed sad. Each man


Speaking only to themselves as they scanned

The room. Alone, each one was sure that he,

Alone, was thinking up some escape plan.


He trills a slow riff. He stops and stands.

He bows. The faces tell him he is free

Of the missing poet’s lounge. This sad man’s

Thinking all the time. His escape is planned.


by Mark J. Mitchell 



A Literary Myth

A dry pen
rolls down the table.

It teeters, momently,
on the edge

then falls
turning gymnastically

and lands point
down in the carpet

exactly like
a sword in a stone.


by Mark J. Mitchell   


Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock and Barbara Hull. His work has appeared in various periodicals over the last thirty five years, as well as the anthologies Good Poems, American Places,Hunger Enough, and Line Drives. His chapbook, Three Visitors will be published by Negative Capability Press later this year and his novels, The Magic War and Knight Prisoner will be published in the coming months. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster. Currently he’s seeking gainful employment since poets are born and not paid.

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