“Ars Poetica” by Grace Ocasio

Grace Ocasio


They laughed when I asked
for pancetta,
those grocery store clerks.

I don’t care.
It’s better to be chic
than to lie

in some bland corner
of a room,
wilting and frumpy.

What do I care
for the woman
who never dares to wear

a houndstooth jacket?
It’s up to us to set
the speed of our lives.

Audrey, for instance,
could dazzle
simply by placing

an ordinary swatch
against her skin:
chiffon, silk, organza.

To the nay-sayers I say
if you choose to live
like toads why should I care?

It would have been easier
to ask for Italian bacon.
But isn’t it better

to be swift than rushed?
Better to be svelte than thin?
Better to seek than to settle?

from Rattle #31, Summer 2009
Tribute to African American Poets


Grace Ocasio: “Over a decade ago, I decided to build up my personal lexicon. I grew tired of using the same old dreary words over and over again. That’s when I started reading mainstream magazines like GQ and Vanity Fair and discovered words like recherché and rococo. Since then, I’ve refined my vocabulary, amassing a network of words that I could call my own. The poem ‘Ars Poetica’ is my ode to the art of mining words.” (web)

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