When Poets Surprise the World

I know what whims are–the undiplomatic ones–
the wax that knows its course once the fire is drawn close,
the dry, fragile leaves–idiots– in the wind
that drift aimlessly into a room with an open window;
the unrestrained mouth of a child provoked into uttering nonsense
and something that makes sense
to clever, spying neighbors.

And there are whims that carry pretense–
the orchestrated eccentricity covering
surreptitious preparations to take the
world by surprise,
like a dull bag hiding gold:

the secret delight to shrewd poets
capitalizing on the privilege to appear bizarre
to use the famed weirdness and notorious emotionality
when there’s an exact moment to show
unseen greatness, hidden tastes, concealed worldly competence.

What would you call them?
The sinking boat that is sailing,
the unambitious ass that’s a soaring eagle,
the vanquished ruler who’s ready to launch an assault;

To them, poetry is the wind that makes
the mind drift into imagination,
digging out the verses of gold.
But they’re aware of their conventional privileges
and smartly play the clandestine game.

When Poets Surprise the World

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