dann associates training

(from Beyond the Bitter Wind: poems 1982-2000 [Shoestring Press])

There must be a minor circle of hell, I think,
where the occupants, free from boiling oil
or sulphur, unprodded with pitchforks,
distant from Satan's icy rage,
are immersed instead in grant applications.

Fifty copies must be sent. In each
the applicant must promise
that in the course of the project
speeding locomotives will be overtaken,
work of peerless genius brought to birth.

The great and the good must appear as referees
(not, in hell, such a problem to contact them).
The perfect padded envelope must be found
at the bottom of a vast basket
of similar envelopes. No material

of any human interest may be enclosed.
At terminals and desk-top publishing packages
they sit, their crime on earth
too much unregenerate desire
to set their mark upon the world

as poets, scholars, persons of letters.
And every form comes back the same:
Application Excellent. Funding Denied.
Fifty copies must be sent. In each
the applicant must promise...

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