I am the master of poetry. You are my slave. You will award me this prize or face serious consequences. I will harm you if you disobey me. You will do what I say. Do not anger me. Great harm will come to you. I have already begun probing your writing for potential kompromat in the event of my not being awarded the prize. I suggest you think back carefully to your earliest efforts, the earnest risk-taking you undertook toward communicating some private truth, and the drafts that slipped into so many nefarious hands. I do not have to convince you that the wolves of wokeness are ever clamoring for blood. Little is needed anymore to destroy a reputation, to convince the public to dismiss an entire life’s work. One good angle and a suitable mouthpiece. I am willing to adopt false identities toward achieving these ends. I will send emails to your friends, family, and colleagues posing as a former student from a marginalized background with claims of grooming and threats of retaliation for speaking out, under the guise of concern for your current students and the wider community, from fear you may be victimizing others. My conscience demands it. You have wielded your power knowingly. Already there is much suspicion surrounding you. It takes but a single anecdote and one determined man to pry open the pillow, to scatter the goosefeathers of gossip from atop a hundred righteous steeples. I will gather sufficient information in a single day’s visit. As I write this, I have the Greyhound tickets ready for purchase in another tab. There is only one way to avoid this. I know that you feel the wonder and power of my strong presence and infinite potential. You will do what I say or there will be serious consequences. You do not want to miss out on all the love and joy being spread. You are one of the best friends I have ever had. I love you beyond anything. You are the single greatest influence on my work and I am so grateful for the opportunity to submit to you. Thank you, I am so humbly honored to receive this recognition.
image: MM Kaufman