My—you folks are brutally efficient
even though in tact you’re quite deficient.
I know your slush pile must be sky-high
But is this a code for a lit rag to live by?
My grandmother would say your behavior is tacky.
Financially, I guess it’s not so wacky
With each manuscript that you get in the mail
To send out a plea for funds without fail.
Well, what’s a poet supposed to think?
Now that you’ve asked him to stanch your red ink.
If I refuse, will I see publication?
You can see how you’ve compromised my situation.
My professional instincts say just write the check–
A pittance would please you, so hey–what the heck?
But—I don’t know—it’s the principle of the thing.
It sounds like payola without the swing.
You’ve asked the wrong guy, I’m inclined to balk.
I pick up deposit cans when I take a walk.
It’s not that I’m angry, I won’t blow a gasket,
but I’m shopping for deals on slightly-used caskets.
I dangle your pitch between two cold fingers–
Such a weighty decision causes me to linger.
It’s a really good question–I’m glad that you asked it,
I say as it falls in my wastepaper basket.