This Is Not The Poem You Wanted by Daniel Mulcahy


This is not the poem you wanted.

It will not leave you haunted by a voice, a song

The feeling that you have somehow become undeniably altered.


This is not the poem you were expecting to find,

And rest assured that it will yield no new perspectives

Unlike the best of poems

Its words will not persist as shivers in your skin

Or detonate inside your skull at unexpected moments:

In the shower, on the shitter, on the night bus home.


This is not the poem for which you long, and

You will find no higher meaning,

Grasp no sudden truth;

You will strengthen no connection to the message at your core

Of the light that shines through everything you do

And everyone you meet.


This poem is not of use:

Unequipped to help you ‘find yourself’,

It cannot confirm your deepest wish,

Nor suggest your most desperate hope.

It can make no promise that things resolve.


This poem does not extend to reparations.

Closure lies outside its scope,

And do not ask it to evoke: it does not dare.


This is the poem that says

There are only walls, and why should you care?

This poem is opaque,

Indulgent, a flaccid handshake.

It uses words like

Tautological, superfluous, redundant

Words it hopes you will not understand:

Which is to say, to your relief, you have no need to listen.

This is no poem that’s worth repeating

And in no way deserves your undivided attention.


This poem is a waste of your valuable time,

Each line soured by doubt,

By those dubious, compulsory questions:

And shouldn’t you be doing something else?

And shouldn’t you be feeling something more?