Borges at the Northside Rotary (by David Kirby)

Original Text: 
David Kirby, The Ha-Ha (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003). This poem is reproduced on the Griffin Prize Web Site (from a volume on the 2004 International Shortlist).
If in the following pages there is some successful verse or other,
may the reader forgive me the audacity of having written it before him.
--Jorge Luis Borges, foreword to his first book of poems
1After they go to the podium and turn in their Happy Bucks
2  and recite the Pledge of Allegiance
3and the Four Truths (."Is it the Truth?
4    Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill
5and better friendships? Will it be beneficial
6  to all concerned?."), I get up to read my poetry.
7and when I'm finished, one Rotarian expresses
8  understandable confusion at exactly what it is
9I'm doing and wants to know what poetry is, exactly,
10    so I tell him that when most nonpoets think
11of the word ."poetry,." they think of ."lyric poetry,."
12  not ."narrative poetry,." whereas what I'm doing
13is ."narrative poetry." of the kind performed
14  by, not that I am in any way comparing myself
15to them, Homer, Dante, and Milton,
The rest of the poem cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: