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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 7: March 2021
Poem: 160 words [R]
By Ellaraine Lockie

Poets at Any Price


I tell you 
Don’t ever trust poets 

They’ll panhandle 
prostitute, fake or take 
to get at any truth 

They’ll exploit 
confessor, friend or family 
Confiscate the unconditional 
Then give it back 
smudged in black ink 

I tell you 
Because I’ve been truth’s victim 
Verbal accounts reiterated 
verbatim in someone else’s poem 
Secrets exposed as sonnets 
Composites as transparent 
as the silk panties I wore 

I tell you 
Revere the poets’ need 
to reveal these small realities 
Because bigger ones they bare 
Bloody ones whitewashed by other informants 
Journalists whose jobs are contingent on asking 
easy questions at presidential press conferences 

The partial truths that smell better 
in perfume-sampled magazines 
That taste better even as FDA-approved 
poisons eat immune systems 
That feel better because a cheating 
spouse’s arms are safer than none at all 

I tell you 
Don’t ever trust poets 
If you prefer deception 
Because truth is their drug 
And they’ll do anything 
for a fix 



—First published in Lummox, and reprinted here with author’s permission from the series of tiny broadsides Poems for All (24th Street Irregular Press), No. 868 (2008)

Ellaraine Lockie
Issue 7, March 2021

is widely published and awarded as a poet and essayist. Recent poems have won the 2019 Poetry Super Highway Contest, the Nebraska Writers Guild’s Women of the Fur Trade Poetry Contest, and New Millennium’s Monthly Musepaper Poetry Contest. Sex and Other Slapsticks (Presa Press, 2019) is her 14th chapbook. Earlier collections have won Poetry Forum’s Chapbook Contest Prize, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Competition, Encircle Publications Chapbook Contest, Best Individual Poetry Collection Award from Purple Patch magazine in England, and the Aurorean’s Chapbook Choice Award.

Her poems have found their way onto broadsides, buses, rented cars, bicycles, cabins, greeting cards, key chains, bookmarks, mugs, coffee-sack labels, church bulletins, radio shows, and cable TV, as well as into hundreds of national and international journals, magazines, and anthologies.

Ellaraine has been awarded multiple residencies and fellowships from both Centrum and Summer Literary Seminars, and thirty of her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She also teaches writing workshops, frequently judges poetry contests, and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine Lilipoh.

Her pollages, which combine handmade papermaking, poetry, and collage, have appeared in juried art shows around the country and have been the subject of a one-woman gallery art show and several online essays and interviews. They also exist in several private art collections and have appeared in: The Centrifugal Eye, Rio Grande Review, Homestead Review, Sein Und Werden (England), Prairie Connection, Ascent Aspirations, and Alchemy. Ellaraine’s book The Gourmet Paper Maker (how to make paper with the inedible parts of fruits and vegetables) is published in six languages.

See also: https://www.bookthatpoet.com/poets/lockieel.html

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