Not Based on Anyone, Living or Dead: A Poem

Because sometimes, my friend, it just isn’t about you.

Please read my usage policy before asking for permission to use this piece.

If I write a love song, a brief little gem,
Some people will hear it and think I meant them.
If I spin a sonnet or whittle a rhyme,
Some idiot thinks he’s my muse, half the time.
    And that’s why this phrase must remain in your head:
    This is not based on anyone, living or dead.

Disclaimers are clumsy and not very smooth,
But lately I find they’re a much-needed truth.
As much as you’d like to believe I meant you
When a poem pleads “I love you” or “Marry me, do,”
    Please remember this phrase when you’re sighing a-bed:
    This is not based on anyone, living or dead.

Do I pine for a lover asleep in the grave?
No, that Muse doesn’t matter—he already gave.
Do I write of a person existing today?
Not a bit—my creation was formed of mere clay.
    So a note to the egos of Tom, Dick and Fred:
    This is not based on anyone, living or dead.

There’s a good deal of space between fiction and fact,
And I hate to be blunt—I’d prefer to use tact—
But when you think that all of my works involve you,
It’s about time we cleared up a problem or two.
    I said what I meant and I meant what I said:
    This is not based on anyone, living or dead.

(Published in Literary Vision Magazine (11/2004)

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