Tuesday, August 23, 2005



At a poetry reading
I recently heard
twice in one night
the same obscure word.

A day or two later
(to my dismay)
I heard it again.
It won't go away!

This time - the title!
That’s even worse!
It’s bad enough
when it lurks in the verse.

A shy little word
that lives in the shade,
it shrivels when
too much attention is paid.

Because Billy Collins
decided to use it
doesn’t give poets
the right to abuse it.

I hope no one talks about
lichen tonight…. but
if you like lichen - please -
say the word right.

When you’re out hikin’
you often see lichen.
It grows on the side
of a rock or a tree.
If you’re open mikin’
and lookin’ for lickin’
or liechen
or litchen
the bedroom
or kitchen

is where you should be.