hopper blue copy
How to Avoid Appearing in a Poem
by Tina Hacker

Don’t be friends with a poet. Don’t even
say hello to one you pass on the street.
Otherwise your chances of avoiding
poetic fame sink lower than a guy
stealing from the collection plate.
If you’re a poet’s relative,
you’re poetic booty.
Better than the Crown Jewels
because your luster can be captured
on paper without alarms going off.
Even if your name is changed,
everyone will know, “It’s you, isn’t it?”
If you share some coffee
and conversation with a starving poet,
people will soon be texting condolences.
“Didn’t know you had it so bad.”
If you live on a farm,
the whole spectrum of nature,
from plants that grow in Mongolia
to rivers that ran dry a century ago,
will be described in words that rhyme
with your name—first and last.
Sometimes a poet will ask permission
to write about you. Don’t answer.
Any utterance will signal your acquiescence.
Tell everyone you hate poetry.
Become the Scrooge of verse, free or otherwise.
Poets will shun your company.
Will they write about you? Of course.

IMAGE: Blue night [detail] by Edward Hopper (1914)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tina Hacker is happy to announce that Kelsay Books will be publishing her collection of poems, GOLEMS, in July 2021. The poems are based on the golem character from Jewish folklore who has helped mankind through the ages. Each golem is conjured from the earth to complete a task. Then, after doing this, the golem disappears, returning to the earth or transported to another place. Tina has authored two previous collections of poetry: Listening to Night Whistles published by Aldrich Press and Cutting It, by The Lives You Touch Publications. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize four times.