During the snowstorm I dream one
of those dreams one should never tell.
Men of the world have rounded up
a thousand diffident people filled
with the spirit of art. Many
have won Pulitzer and other prizes,
and the men of the world despise them.
I crouch beside W.S. Merwin,
hoping his fame will shield me,
but the disdain pumped into the room
as a sulfurous gas fells us
equally, even Jim Dine, who
retorts with a curse so vivid
he plumes a flash of purple fire.
I’m slithery enough to escape
through a bathroom window. The cries
of the choking artists and writers
fade as I roam the complex
of glass and metal structures,
a convention center erected
by our crooked local realtor.
The men of the world have gathered
at a cash bar and buffet.
They’re too busy laughing at jokes
unsuitable for mixed company
to notice me wandering past.
They’re not as powerful as they think:
the gas of their disdain’s not fatal,
though sickening down to the soul.
Over the last forty years
I’ve already breathed my share of it
and still can vote, think, and read.
Now the sky darkens and snow begins.
The glass and metal buildings stand
empty, unusable because
designed by cut-rate incompetents.
I try to wake myself, but the weight
of snow already smothers me,
and I worry that Merwin and Dine
will detest me for escaping
merely to embrace a snowstorm
and absolve myself in its sighs.
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has published three critical studies. His poetry has appeared in many journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A Black River, A Dark Fall (Splash of Red, 2017).