They are, like ants and roaches, ubiquitous and constantly underfoot,
Nursing their lattes and mocachinos on some sidewalk,
Dropping bits of Bukowski and Palahniuk
As if they had been old friends or drinking buddies,
Sporting spare porkpies and thick-rimmed glasses with non-prescription lenses.
They spout the requisite phrases and make the appropriate faces,
But they are no more than ghosts,
Never having turned a shovel or kicked a ball in anger,
Or considered making or leaving a heart whole and unbroken.
The odd cribbed bon mot aside, they are powerless to create,
Save for what morsels of cleverness they can cobble
From uncultivated innate ability, small gift boxes of wordplay
Adequately wrapped, but empty inside.
What to do with these sad collections of affectations,
These anesthetized approximations who walk among the living?
Nothing left to inter the dead, one supposes,
Their services to be held in some small-city downtown Starbucks
(Or in some free-trade organic indie alcove in the Portlands and Berkleys
They so often gravitate toward), the remains to be committed
To a cubicle in some branch office of some insurance giant
Or the cosmetics counter in some mall retail outlet
Which sits on the site where, once upon a time,
There sat an auditorium where the town’s operatic society,
Enthusiastically if not particularly ably,
Presented a sketchy translation of La Boheme.