Billy Collins is the author of eight books of poetry including Ballistics, The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems, Nine Horses, Picnic, Lightning, and Sailing Alone Around the Room. A Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College (CUNY), he served as United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003 and New York State Poet Laureate 2004-2006.
How many newscasters in their mauve dress shirts
and their horrendous ties
and how many ads for the local Dodge dealer
featuring his dog and his granddaughter in a party dress
will it take for us to follow in the footsteps
of the King by tilting back on our chairs
and firing a few rounds into the television set
with a handgun powerful enough
to knock us backwards onto the shag rug
which is exactly, given the hour, where we belong?
Just as the hare is zipping across the finish line,
the tortoise has stopped once again
by the roadside,
this time to stick out his neck
and nibble a bit of sweet grass,
unlike the previous time
when he was distracted
by a bee humming in the heart of a wildflower.