Not forgery, not even the casual hobbyist
whose incidental flattery is compounded:
shrugs and sheer complaisance,
but epigone, most dubious of qualifications,
condemns to endless exile its most prominent signatories.
That first, the cynical copyist, still shows a kind of talent,
one that snickers at the world, and suckers it for what it’s worth,
yet requires of its progenitors some special sort of skill,
in whose hands, its best practitioners must remain unknown,
and while they gather in the gold, they only rarely gain
high altars of admiration and acclaim, and must,
as strangers, come cautiously observe
their finest contributions in another’s name..
But those who sidle up behind chairs of greatness
and of fame, who utilize a similitude of line,
a kind of dutiful identification of utilized ideation,
must be sullenly aware, and grudgingly bear
the fact: that second hand is mostly second rate;
and if, though not quite conscious of their status
in the demimonde, nor ready yet to bemoan a fate
that feeds them Pulitzers, and makes them prosperous,
it must equally-inwardly gnaw them weepy,
and effectively discombobulate their sleep.