Neon signs—now they’re old enough
for historic preservation. Businesses fail but
the signs’ ideas endure far from the actual:
Cleaning nowhere near the wringing
of hands in the laundry. Repair
with no wrenches in reach.
These bent and soldered sales pitches,
serenades of gas stations and seedy hotels,
may lack the elegance of antique and artifact.
But praise them, and those who tend
to the flickering of the familiar before it expires.
Who exalt the dullard everyday, ignite
a No to go against the Vacancy,
and live in that kind of light.
ROSE McLARNEY has published two collections of poems, Its Day Being Gone (Penguin Books, 2014), a National Poetry Series winner, and The Always Broken Plates of Mountains(Four Way Books, 2012). She has been awarded fellowships by the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, and Warren Wilson College, and won the Fellowship of Southern Writers’ New Writing Award for Poetry and Alligator Juniper’s 2011 National Poetry Prize. Her work appears in The Kenyon Review, Orion, Slate, New England Review, and Missouri Review. She earned her MFA from Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers and is currently Assistant Professor of Poetry at Oklahoma State University.