Oh, To Be an Author!
By David Hartley Mark
I see America writing, the varied genres I read,
Some favor Memoirs of psychological desperation,
Long days spent abed in depressive surroundings,
Mental-Health Solons writing them off as Hopeless,
Saved only by Love of Another, very often not Human,
A Dog, perhaps, or Plant-Life; a Voyage the World Rotund,
Training for a Marathon, Iditarod, or Vowel-Free Diet;
Others write Fantasy, Dramas unfolding
In Alternate Universes, oddly-named Ur-Worlds:
Kemquot or Meegrr, Stiltskunn or Zzyandottie,
Planets of five genders where Sex is a challenge,
Bleak Empires ruled by short-tempered tyrants,
Knights on three-volume missions who ride sky-blue chargers
With five heads or eight tails, exhaling methane fumes:
Favoring phantasms, Authors flutter through fiction,
Alternative History tests factual knowledge:
Could Sherman best Tojo in fight fair or slanted?
Might Barbary Pirates wage war ‘gainst the Alamo?
What if Grand Archduke Ferdinand survived Sarajevo?
Populating their pages with forgettable figures,
They throw in green aliens, add AK-47s.
Or Poetry: O Muse! Tempt my versicle Being—
My iambs pulsating, Shakespearean Tremors—
My Beloved’s nectarine-like skin-covering’s beguiling,
But I suffer from post-post-post-Modernist angst-fever
And a Trout flips ‘bout madly in the dregs of my Weltschmerz.
I’d sell off my stock of “How to Write Fiction,”
Of “Writers & Poets” and “Marketable Markets,”
To know what is Current, or what will be Coming,
To free my Trapped Muse from its Prison of Jump-Drive
And let her aloft to soar through the Heavens
Just once. O Fates, help me! Lachesis, Atropos,
Dear Clotho—if you will, make my turgid brain able
To crank out one novel, one marketable fable
And I won’t complain, once a few people buy it—
If it finally winds up, either virtual or actual,
On that Limbo of writers, the “Remainders Books” table.