“The Last Ones” by Robert L. Penick

The Last Ones

They seemed easier to spot thirty years ago,

or perhaps my eye was keener.

The freaks, the misfits, true artists

who wagered their entire lives on

finding the perfect ending to a poem,

or a melody that would break hearts

for a hundred years.

These people stood out like chancres

on the flesh of blind, blinking society.

Their dress and manners signal fires:

We are different: We breathe different air,

exchange foreign coin.  We are sedition.

They strayed from the herd and

set their course from novel stars.

Now the world is redivided between

the angry and the scared, no room

at the margins for painters adding gilt

to a picture so tightly framed.

Still, at bus stops and in supermarkets,

perhaps at the DMV, you’ll see a secret

sculptor or finagler of verse.

The poetry and prose of Robert L. Penick have appeared in over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, North American Review, Plainsongs, and Oxford Magazine. His latest chapbook is Exit, Stage Left, by Slipstream Press, and more of his work can be found at theartofmercy.net