All Poetry Is Local

We meet the second Friday of every month
around a table in a commons at the college,
and after pleasantries and a sip of cooling coffee
and perhaps an anecdote or two
to fill the gaps in time since last we met,
we take turns reading the poems
we’ve written on a pre-selected topic—
a congress of companions
whose singular duty is to legislate
the efficacy of what whimsy,
the effulgence of such simile,
we loose like eupneic bubbles in the air.

It’s what we do instead of making speeches:
we listen, we read.
And if we can encourage
the progress of our endeavors,
each according to ability and need,
we consider the time well worth
the effort expended—
though our labors doubtlessly
are of doubtful ingenuity,
and no journals but our own
might preserve them for posterity,
we proceed.

Whitman, if not Whittier, would understand:
like politics, all poetry is local.

—Mike Orlock, Sturgeon Bay