A Poet’s Lament - for Charles Southerland, whose brilliant prose style I so painfully tried to imitate and incorporate Nobody cried when poetry died a long, slow death - a final breath, maybe even a last word that no one heard. She’d run her course, so with no remorse the culture moved on - all interest gone and with a heart of stone - no listening ears; no glistening tears. With nothing to say she just faded away - dead - no more to be read - one lone vulture overhead. Well, I can’t forget (at least not yet) and I’m at it still. Hell, I probably will be until I die too. I don’t know why and I don’t try to work it through. It’s what I do. So, whether I like it or not, mine will be the words that time forgot. I’ll never make a dime from a rhyme. There is no fame and there’s no acclaim and my name will never be known. I’m on my own. I write every night - for myself? not quite - and close the book and put it on the shelf and shut the light - and go to bed - no more to be read - one lone bare bulb overhead. To Pay the Piper I’ve given up the right to think and so I wander toward the brink with countless others, poised to leap into the roiling, briny deep. Ideologues of every stripe, we long to hear the magic pipe of Hamelin Town’s most famous son— to lead us on our final run. And so it does—enchanting notes! A mindless herd, we cast our votes. To blatant hype and lilting lies, we rush headlong to our demise. From left and right, the great divide— we take the plunge from either side. Joe Tessitore is a retired New York City resident and poet.