The Disclaimers

by G. H. Smith

This is not a poem about the inevitability
Of old age, decrepitude, and death.
You won’t find a single
Reference to lost innocence,
The joys of spring, or unrequited love.

We don’t anticipate discussing at any length
The fashion in which one becomes a poet,
Or the dubious wisdom of that course.

The heartbreak of broken dreams,
And the high cost of remaining
True to one’s art
Will be addressed in other works,
not here.

This one will not employ a stanza
In italicized Middle English
Bearing the sage wisdom
Of an anonymous monk,

Nor will its words be arrayed
On the page to form the images
Of Elvis, or Che Guevara.

Likewise, it promises not to capitalize
The second-to-last-word
Of every other line
To deceive you into thinking
There’s more than meets the eye.

It’s a virtual certainty this poem
Won’t help you patch things up
With your estranged mother,
Or cause you to take up archery,
Or the study of man’s relationship to the cosmos.
When you finish reading it,
You’ll feel no different
Than you did before.
Or, if you do,
There will be some other reason.

It will be someone else’s fault, not ours.