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Villanelle If You Want to Be a Bad-Ass.

   You will not be rewarded for remaining long the same.
   You will, of course, be taunted if you ever try to change.
   When trainers wander off, tigers, please do not stay tame.

   Consistency is worse, it brings the wrong kind of fame.
   The orbit of right action has a freakin' woolly range.
   You will not be rewarded for remaining long the same.

   It, inertia, is a pity. It, stagnation, is a shame. Yet you
   yourself preach caution as you pace your unlocked cage:
   "When trainers wander off, tigers, please do not. Stay tame."

   Be a mountain if you want to, be the whole mountain range.
   Will you, in turn, be hostage to your hostage on the page?
   You will not. Be rewarded for remaining long the same?

   You can say what you want when the angel makes you lame.
   You can wrestle against water, you can rape your own rage
   (when trainers wander off). Tigers, please do not stay tame.

   As hard as bleeding a tree to death by cut and squeezing, change
   from out of the gut of the rut's range will be insanely hard.
   But you will not be rewarded for remaining long the same,
   when trainers wander off, tigers, please do not stay tame.

Jennifer Michael Hecht's poetry has appeared in Best American Poetry 1999, Poetry, The Partisan Review, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, Missouri Review, and Denver Quarterly. Her first collection, The Next Ancient World, is published with Tupelo Press.

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Author:Hecht, Jennifer Michael
Publication:Prairie Schooner
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jun 22, 2001
Words:245
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