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“The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art.”
—George Bernard Shaw

I’ve put untapped potential on a shelf
much like a book one someday wants to read.
I’m less concerned with cultivating “Self,”
and now am more concerned with what we need.

We’re married. You’re more beautiful than books.
The Muse is not my mistress anymore.
Despite how mainstream or mundane he looks,
the Pragmatist is no one to abhor.

If I can make it to retirement,
I’ll pen the poems you deserve to hear.
But if the artist in his art is pent,
I’ll eschew those poor penthouses, my dear.

I hope you know that when I stoke the stove,
get out the door, then labor out of sight,
I show my love—not with poems of love,
but with the books of poems I won’t write.

—Reid McGrath