You were nothing but question marks,
pushy, bellying question marks, weren’t you? weren’t you?
with no contexts but your chesty, end-quote girlfriends,
turning up in my autobiography now, annoying
as typos. Why I oughta
delete you once and for all with one
stab of my little finger! And maybe I will!
But not before I’m done with you, not before
I’ve had some fun with you at your expense.
This is my turf now. My story. You could say
I’m God here, and you’re… whatever I say you are.
And I say you are nothing but little boldface punc-
tuation marks, come to an unfortunate end, sentenced
to eternity in this poem, which is kicking your butt
by making you the butt of every joke in it.
And I think it’s going to be a very long poem,
and I think it’s going to be published simultaneously
in many languages, and in all the best magazines
with the biggest readerships. And now I’m thinking
it will be the title poem of my next collection,
and also my Collected Works, to be published posthumously,
which I know is a big word for you, so let me tell you
what it means. It means I will be at peace, and you will be
still suffering eternal humiliation in this poem
which between you and me is beginning to bore me now. After all,
I have better things to do than waste my time
with your poem. Maybe I’ll just throw it out with you in it.
Maybe I’ll burn it. How about a little fire, question mark?
But it isn’t over until I say it’s over. And I say
it needs polishing. So go ahead, use your sleeve.
I’m going to sit over here now and take a nap.
It had better be brilliant when I wake up.