The Poet’s Creed
They worship the poet. His students, to be precise. I’m just an observer, another writer, someone who doesn’t buy into the myth. They think every word this CrossFit loving scholar utters is gospel. They absorb every metaphor, inhale every image he paints in his poems. Rants about Bauhaus architecture, dreamy sonnets of Emily Dickinson fucking Walt Whitman in some sort of demonic poetic fanfiction, even though I question the originality, the intent. They prey on his abstractions. They ignore the fact that he worships himself, masturbates in the tub to his own poetry. They ignore his peccadilloes, embrace them, elevate him. They ignore his drunken adventures, slamming deviants into jukeboxes, ignore his edicts issued in poetry class. You will do things my way, he proclaims, as if he is the headmaster from Dead Poets Society.
They agree. They worship, they throw independent thought from the windows. They build statues of the poet and recite his name, these once promising poets, with their big glasses, and their nerdy awkwardness. They adhere to his creed, which they chant, while they do CrossFit, building their conformist muscles, and excising independent flesh. I stand, I plead, they keep drawing closer, closer, and the poet smiles, paternalistically.
And finally, when I try to pull them back from the herd, from his hypnotism, they come after me. They eat my brains with fava beans and a fine Chianti. They eat me as if this is some sick Communion table, except instead of renewed life, they are taking someone else’s life for criticizing their hero. They eat, eat until they leave me dead, a ghost flitting about the moon and the stars, with no home left, while the hoi polloi continue to worship the poet, uttering his name, their voices rising, rising, rising like a fire, engulfing the moonlight, the beauty. I have failed and other people fail, the flames rising, rising, the poet hovering above them, a master, a monster.
Mir-Yashar is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program in fiction. His short-stories have been published or are forthcoming in various literary journals, including Sinkhole Mag, Gravel Magazine, The Courtship of Winds, and Ink In Thirds.