On "Calling oneself a poet" -- a farce
No pussy poet, I; my muse
I've never asked for help--my pride refused.
And, anyway, a djinni is the thing--
but, having none, I asked the muse to bring
a beer. He threw it at my head.
...When sense returned to me, he said:
"That crap you write--
you think you're
I know the gimp;
right here I'm seeing
twice the reach
and half the class.
Your skills...? My God!
They wouldn't measure
on a postage scale.
You couldn't spar
with Ogden Nash."
That face--that surly growl? The whiff of puke?
"Muse," I said, "You even smell like Buk!
This greenish shade--this mentors all my
"You squirrels won't let me die--
you keep me here. The boys upstairs
don't call it punishment...
Give it up and let me go to Hell."
"Poets go there?"
"Those who sell.
The numbers say
who never listen
pay our rent.
They call that fraud."
"The rest of us?"
"In Heaven's eyes,
you're nothing, kid--
that's what you get.
So if you want
to call yourself a poet,
go ahead. No one gives
an honest fuck.
There's your halo...
want that beer?"
This time, I ducked--
but, with a laugh,
The six pack vanished, too, and left
wet rings, and finger-painted notes--
across the desktop--less than deft.
Here, then, fixed-up, is what he wrote:
"Call yourself a poet; call down grief.
But swallow no one's bullshit--please--
your own is bad enough. Keep it brief.
Don't let the booze confuse your issues;
regarding poems and piss, you
ought to take it easier on trees."