This poem has invited you out to talk about the act and theory of poetry. When you arrive at his home what do you notice about where the poem lives? Does he live with his parents or his rheumatic grandmother? Who is taking care of whom? Are you surprised that he lives in such a frightening neighborhood or disappointed by his petit-bourgeois cul-de-sac and the BMWs parked in every driveway? Is his home tidy or a mess? Is it cluttered with dirty dishes and soiled laundry or out-dated political tracts and semi-unsettling relics from his trip to India you seem to remember him mentioning when you first met? Does he care if you touch his relics?
When you get out of his house, where does he want you to go? Dinner at Applebys or drinks in a bar you've never heard of and can't be sure exists even when you are sitting there with the poem, watching him argue his tab with the bar tender? Is the poem well dressed? Do his clothes match his atmosphere or transcend it? Do you feel underdressed around him or embarrassed that you're the only one around not wearing anything studded? At what point do you realize you are irrationally and uncontrollably attracted to the poem?
Does the poem want to talk about himself? If so, do you want to listen? Does he ramble listlessly about vague details of his suburban youth or does everything he tells you feel like a dirty secret? Do you feel somehow implicated by what he's telling you? Why don't you walk away from the conversation? Because you don't want to hurt his feelings or because you're worried he'll follow you? Is he looking you in the eye while he talks? At what point do you begin to wonder why he arranged this date? Who pays for the drinks?
When you leave the bar, how does he react to the cop ticketing his car? Is he manipulative and apologetic? Does he embarrass himself by lecturing the cop on the injustice of ticketing a young poem like himself, bringing up things like hegemony and civil disobedience? Or does he take a swing at the cop? Do you help him fight? Or are you horrified to see the cop is actually his cousin? Does he get out of the ticket or not? What kind of car does he drive? Why didn't you notice what kind of a car when you were riding in it on the way to the bar?
Does he take you straight home or does he want to run errands first? How illegal are these errands? Has he been consistently iambic so far? Is he too emjambed? What about his spondees? Are his caesuras awkward lulls in the conversation or times he's turned from you to wheeze into the elbow of his leather jacket? Has the poem been suffocating you this whole time or has he been the scant gasps of breath keeping you alive? Are you sure the poem is male? What makes you so sure?
About Parker Smith
Parker Smith has seen your home videos and isn't impressed. He has heard your family's inside jokes from every other family and knows they that makes them neither inside jokes or outside jokes but collectively shared secrets. Because of this, he is embarrassed for you. Parker's inside jokes are sui generis and his family gatherings hilarious. The things he says at them are better than all his poems combined. Parker hates your toddler.