“Poetry Setaside Program” by Mike Finley

Man at the door says he’s from the National Humanities Office, to tell me about the new setaside program.


“I don’t know what that is,” I say.


“It’s a simple concept,” the man says. “Instead of writing all day every day, you agree to not write for a while.”


“Why is that a good idea? Why would the government get into that?”


“Oh, it’s a sound practice in many ways,” he assures me. “First, it means there is less poetry in the aggregate. Gives demand a chance to catch up to supply.”


“Okay, I can see that. What else?”


“Well, it’s good for you. You don’t burn out your audience so fast. Lets newcomers get into the game a bit.”


“I guess I can agree to that. But what about me, personally? How do I benefit, besides the monthly checks?”


“Mister Finley, that’s the best part. You get to rest your brain. Your creativity gets a chance to renew itself. Just think how good you’ll be after a few months.”


“Yes, yes, I’m thinking about this. One last thing — you’re not just telling this to me, are you? Every writer is being offered the opportunity?”


The man’s eyes widen. “Absolutely, sir. We’re telling everyone.”


“Who have you told so far?”


“Well, so far, just you.”








Mike Finley is a Pushcart winner and author over 200 books and 100 provocative videos. He grew up in the Ohio towns of Amherst and Vermilion, on Lake Erie. In 2010, Mike was awarded the The Kerouac Award, a lifetime achievement honor. In his spare time Mike edits LIEF Magazine.  (mikefinleywriter.com)