He had been this month’s bright, shining hope,
Producing bits of promising prose
Poking out from obscure journals and the odd higher-brow magazine
Like shoots of tiny grasses between cracks in the pavement.
Then there was a novel—not good, really,
But flecked with enough promise
To leave the arbiters of culture wanting more,
But he departed the publication party
(Grinning with the twin glows of acheivement and the publisher’s open bar)
With a foot heavy on the pedal and tires light on tread,
Thus precluding a sequel.
And so he remains, beyond the slow decay of time,
The clucking and tut-tutting of critics
Who, bored, cranky, and ultimately undone by their own limitations,
Cannot help but add the dross of a touch of bronze
To all their former golden children.
Yet as his peers grow older, their lives in various states of disarray,
Their legacies vacillating between forgotten and disrepute,
He remains, on the dust jackets of hardcover editions
Or inside the covers of quaintly priced paperbacks
Festooned with their quasi-psychedelic artwork,
Completely untouched, his smile bright, hair dark and curly
His potential limitless and unsullied.