Is there something in your life you care so much about that you can’t speak politely on the subject?
For me, poetry is that subject.
Perhaps that is why I so largely look for virtues rather than defects when I work with individual poets. When you can’t be polite, you must be good, or burn it all down.
I am not in favor of burning it all down.
But every now and then I must let my feelings out to give the popular poets a good verbal flogging and remind them how pretentious they are. When your modus operandi is to look for virtues, and you still can’t find them, someone needs to assume the position.
This is not a new poem. Every now and then I go and add verses to it. I expect I shall continue to do so.
Oh, you wicked poets!
you poets of hang dog-syntax
and hang-dog recitation!
you poets of noun-verb-noun
you poets of self-watching-self-watching-self
you poets who know
what academic readers will do to your poem
and you just roll over!
Oh, you poets of stuttering and ums,
you poets of not even trying,
you poets of trying too hard at
not even trying
Oh, you poets who
(13-year-old girl on the phone with a boy)
Don’t Know What to Talk About;
oh you poets of
consoling isn’t it
And what about you poets
Who sneer at your fellow man
and his work because –
unluckily he was born
before us so obviously
he wrote when oppression and aggression
were in session
And their brothers of suppression and repression
you poets who
insist it’s not pornographic because
you’re so old
and you put all the gross parts in
and after all people do piss while they kiss
hey that rhymes
Oh and hey you poets who wouldn’t know
a proper sentiment if it bowed to you in the street
You poets of torpid sitting there
till something screams
till someone breaks
till divorce murder cannibal fuck
a sharp pencil went up my anus
damn I’m intense lets turn the fucking volume up to
And oh, you fatherly gently smiling poets
who won’t let your literary children read poetry
unless it’s as unlike poetry as possible
you poets of hidden prejudice
against minds with otherness distilled
with chant and music filled
with dancing gait
for seas and skies
you have stifled
you have trifled
you have blathered
you have slavered
you have –
-oh, you wicked poets! –
you have gagged me
until I gagged.