Book Signing Party

He shouldn't have worn wool,
for even in January one must still enter heated homes.
Leave sheep alone; let them shed in their own time.
Use them for mutton, or if a vegan
proclaim yourself a lamb.
Now the fur tickles his legs like a thousand feathers.
Sweat lubricates his discomfort.
Peripheral nerves gasp for oxygen in their lanolin shroud
and plead in raspy moans.
Woolen pants, his darling insisted.
He was too sheepish to refuse.
A coerced purchase. "You look good in them," she said.

He shouldn't have worn wool. Too late now.
Now all the literati are assembled wielding cocktail glasses.
The battle plan of one-upmanship etiquette unfolds
through the civilized savagery of words.
Polysyllabic vocabulary becomes bird of paradise plumage.
Erudite discourses become the bellowing of hippos in heat.
There is the newly published book, of course,
and witty babble about the new constructionist deconstructionist theory,
and those tomes blessed and anointed by high priest Harold Bloom.
Some have even read the author's new novel.
Some actually consider the author an author,
but all want the signature, just in case.

Finally while discussing the poetics of John Ashbery,
Mr. Sheepish rubs his crotch.
Indiscretely he massages the point
of interplay between penile perspiration and ewe hair.
The others pretend to be the stoic English upper class
and sip their wine and continue their banter.
But a trailer park contagion enters the air.
The published author suddenly picks his nose,
while supposedly perusing the Shakespeare library.
A lady professor picks shrimp shells from her teeth.
The disciple for Harold Bloom breaks wind.
A new literary movement sweeps through the bowels of the learned.
It moves up and down, or it rises in the wind when no one is looking,
or–what the hell–even if they are.

Richard Fein

If you've any comments on this poem, Richard Fein would be pleased to hear from you.

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