Prose on Poetry.
A node your homework production.
." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
People don’t buy poetry books anymore. Did they ever? You would think so, as many poets as there are. All the poets could build a nation of self-sufficient poets, if only they bought books of poetry. Hear me out. We’ll make a list of all the poets in the world; we will start with me, and we’ll put a few other people on there too. Those first people don’t have to do anything but pass it on to five people, who add their names to the list, and buy copies of our books, and remove the person at the top of the list. Then they would pass it on to five more people, who would do the same. Five to the fifth power is 3125, so, assuming we make two dollars per book sale, that is $6250. If we kept this going for a while, everyone pitching in to a huge “poet’s fund” we could eventually buy a big island, like Australia, and have just poets live there. What would it be like, a nation of poets?
It would probably be violent. You wouldn’t think so, but it would be. Terribly so; you would have the beatniks over on the West coast, near Perth. With that much caffeine and coffee shops, there would be no hope for peace; they just wouldn’t be able to sleep until they had gotten far enough away. Then, where Darwin is now, we would have the modern poets, all crying and wondering if it would be better down in Adelaide, it’s always nicer the further south you go. The Aborigines in the south would sit there, and look profound, and people would read their pointillist faces, as if they had a point.
In Townsville, Queensland, we would have the traditionalists, who all go around speaking like Robert Frost, and about fire and ice, but none of them are able to find their way home because they want to find other ways to get home. Down south, in Melbourne, all the Victorian poets, being sufficiently verbose and tasteful about the whole affair, would basically repeat whatever they had been told when they last were in Queensland. In Sydney, they would admire a woman whose husband cheats on her. The people in Melbourne talk about her.
“She isn’t the pretty angel they think she is.”
They would say this and then go and recount a story they heard a few weeks earlier.
Down in Tasmania, a person who thinks he is Earnest Hemmingway will sit on his porch, with a shotgun, and he’ll be damned if any of those people come and bother him. He’s got some fishing to do.
No, an island of poets is bad. They would all have their troubles deciding what exactly is poetry. The beatniks will say Moloch made all the poetry before they were here, and billions of trees will die, and no one will understand a thing. The Victorians would not commit to anything; aside from what they’ve been told looks like poetry. In Darwin, the modern poets will have cried all over the paper they wrote on, making it illegible. Down south, they would write poetry, but they don’t have to, they just sit there, and look important. They are poetry embodied. In Sydney, they will just stare and gawk at their stupid princess, who is really of little consequence anyway, and they will write nothing for years. In Queensland, they would write sonnets and be happy.
Down in Tasmania, our Hemmingway sits with his shotgun and coffee. “I don’t give a damn,” he says.
Everyone would taunt the other people. “You’re not real poets,” the beatniks will say. “You’re just keeping the system going.”
No one will understand what the modern poets say, their sobs drown out whatever words they might have said. I think they’re saying, “I’m sorry for being a poet.”
I propose a meeting of poets, to discuss poetry and what poetry is.
“Poetry is an exercise in language usage to express a specific idea. The key is that it's a specific language usage thing. Form not function.”
“Get him outta here!” The beatniks are saying. “He’s put to much thought into it. Or maybe too little . . .” the last sentence trails off like the dribble of cappuccino down the front of their sweaters.
I say he’s closer to right than they are.
Who would have thought poetry would be that violent?
I think we might need metal detectors at the entrances.