It’s not that he wasn’t a good poet, he was
but after he read his poems he got giddy
then violent, then depressed, then suicidal
he made a complete ass of himself
the girls were turned off
the guys were disgusted
he lost his wife, his kid
ended on the streets, stealing
until he was run out of town
he was like a lightweight drunk
no one can stand a man
who can’t handle his poetry
Night after night, he read his poetry at readings.
His signature poem was the one about him sucking his own cock,
how he practiced bending forward
until he was limber enough to put mouth to penis.
He read this poem at every poetry event so that after a time
even the shocking subject matter bored everyone.
For a reason I can’t recall, Ian hated me and my poetry.
He would ask people what they saw in my writing.
He would tell them I was an asshole and a bad poet.
He would boast he was going to kick my ass.
Then he’d read the poem about sucking his own cock
that he and everyone else had long ago memorized.
I didn’t know if he could really do it.
Suck his own cock, I mean.
He had the body for it: lean, fit, boyish.
It was something, I admit, I could never dream of doing.
I was too thick around the middle even then.
I suppose it was impressive in a carnival sort of way.
It might be a fun talent you could flaunt at family reunions.
“Hey, Aunt Regina, check out this crazy thing I can do.”
But you see-there I go making fun of the poor fellow.
Maybe he didn’t like me because I didn’t respect enough
the gymnastic accomplishment of bending like a stapler.
This was all a long time ago, almost twenty years.
Last I heard Ian was a short order cook at a drive-in dive.
He’d stopped writing poetry and attending readings.
Sadly, he never got around to kicking my ass.
I guess he was just too busy sucking his own cock.