A hundred poets came into a room
Armed with their folders, pens, and microphones.
The mediator had a rosy bloom
Of optimism, fearing no millstones
Be hung about his neck
Like deep Atlantic wrecks
Until he would make way for the well-knowns.
Chief among them was Sir Randall Wright
Whose poetry was known to be obtuse.
“It’s not obtuse,” he said, “It’s quite forthright.
“I need a smarter audience for my muse”--
Not realizing he
was dumber than a tree
To claim ignorant readers as excuse.
Behind him, breathing hard, in a beret
McDonald pleaded his preeminence.
“I speak the lingo of the world today.
Wright belongs to the past, I’ve evidence”—
Despite his leaden ear
And prose cut like veneer
With bad line breaks, pretending relevance.
The unfledged followed, rushed the podium
With papers flying, wrangling for a word
With the poor mediator, whose odium
Replaced his prior sanguinity with a turd.
He closed the frenzied show
But first let egos know,
“Your fabled art is grotesque and absurd.”
Now all the poets united against the man
Who fled out back to catch his limousine
They rocked the car, screamed epithets, and ran
To the Arts Council, calling him “obscene.”
He had to laugh out loud
At the rabid, blithering crowd
That populated the faux poetry scene.
I thought that since my mood had improved somewhat, I would not attempt anything serious this morning. There are, as satirized in today's poem, still two major divisions of poets in English since the 1950s: Beatniks and Academics. I know of all the other schools, but it really boils down to Kenneth Koch vs. Richard Wilbur, Maya Angelou vs. Rita Dove., performance poetry vs. written poetry. I suppose my verse leans more towards the academic, as I am poles apart from that great poet of the common people, Charles Bukowski. Here's a link to my essay on him: "Charles Bukowski and the Nadir of American Poetry."
I'm sorry to puke on the Buke. But live, paper bag in hand concealing a cheap bottle of wine, he was quite the entertainer. His childhood is painful to read about, as is most of his adulthood. But pity ought not to influence artistic judgment.
I'm still wondering about goals. Until I reach the goal of not being depressed, it's hard to think of other goals. When I come out of a depression it's a simplifying experience: Life is good as long as I'm not depressed. I can endure anything, assay anything, survive anything--just pray that that anything does not include depression. What matters most is not being depressed. Let's hope I continue to improve.
All for today.
The Unknown Poet