I confess to have written some dreadful poems.
I’ve abused innocent words –
kidnaped them, held them against their will –
captive, under deplorable conditions,
to suffer in horrible poems.

And I might have gotten away with it
if not for the vanity that compelled me
to incriminate myself
as I do now…

— Mike Cohen

The Crime of Poetic Analysis

            THE AUTOPSY

A mysterious beauty, the poem…

Suspicious, curious, fascinated,

we do what we must

to understand. But

analysis of beauty is not beautiful

There is scraping, cutting, and digging.

When whole, it is too hard to grasp.

The urge to take it to hand is too strong to resist.

We must insist. Must scrape, cut, dig

to make it comprehensible.

When at last we’ve seen enough

to satisfy our suspicion and curiosity,

we understand how grand a thing it was intact,

how terrible a thing we’ve done: The autopsy.

Sorry. We should at least have waited

until after it was dead.


But there are autopsies and then there are autopsies…