the older poet’s advice

he told me the trick is to cheat: with art,
it’s all about imitation, he said.
so it’s par for the course if you steal, mime,
borrow everything from everybody.
but there are laws about plagiarism,
so you have to slant everything ten to
a hundred degrees to make it new; so if
you see a poem about horses, write
your own about unicorns, if they write
about unicorns, then you write about
zebras—they write about black stripes, you write
about polka dots on an appaloosa
you lost money on down inLouisville, out
of luck and betting there the wrong weekend.

David M Pitchford
23 Sept 2011


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