Jun 02

The Death of Literature (Bourne)

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The Death of Literature, by Daniel Bourne (1955-)

The dead soldiers of wine bottles

line up to be buried.

on the white table of a poor poet.


“All these years of preparation”

are the poet’s last words.

“And still the wine bottles die.”


The landlady walks into the room,

feels his pulse

and leaves the house to call the police.


Next day, a steel-worker is sneering

at the poet’s two-paragraph obituary.

“Serves him right” Vanya burps.¬†¬† A hangover


pounds a bridge through his head.

He fondles the half-empty bottle

of breakfast through his coat.


All he remembers is what is mother told him:

“A poet doesn’t have to work every day.”

And a journalist knows at least


what he writes is not the truth.

Vanya slings the newspaper on the street

and waits glumly for his bus


like a soldier who is not yet dead.

Words That Burn