To the Young Poet Standing
“Failure drives a Nissan Cube.”
Your opening line is succinct.
Neither made up in a slather of cosmetic adjectives
or itching to shake off an entanglement of adverbs.
Personification plain and simple.
You have written to your audience.
Read the lines with clarity and intonation.
Everything that was asked of you.
Since Failure has not enlightened you
to the vertigo induced by hunger,
the clinging stench of falling face first
into a cold hallway ripe with urine,
or introduced you to those
who remain uncompensated for stolen trust
or whose fast track to success was barricaded by
some unrepaired cleft . . .
Given that Failure has never taken
your straight-toothed, winning smile for a tour
of a refugee camp in its ninth season,
or even the other side of town.
Hasn’t pointed out where
it had the snot beat out of it as a kid,
where it broke its teeth on the curb
after being pushed down by minimum wage,
or pointed out the exact sidewalk square
where it gave up trying . . .
That you cannot see that Failure
has limited the lessons
taught in this brick building
to what is fitting for your neighborhood,
and knowing that under that T shirt logo
label you may wish for something else,
but at thirteen-years-old
you don’t know what. . .
Mindful of all of the above,
I leave this lesson contemplating