Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You may be seated for poetics

There will not be a happy-making conference about poetry or poetics. You will not make friends with everyone nor will they. You may feel anger and disgust. You may take it out on your co-workers. Your clients will expect immediate, top-drawer service, even as you are rifling through your papers in search of last week's notes. At night, making love, your mind drifts over words spoken into a microphone.

Just when you had things all set up. Just when you were ready. Look at this place. It's a fucking mess. Yes I went out. Yes I got a little drunk. Best conversations I had the whole week. Try not to worry so much. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

There are the big names. No, I counted them out. They don't have more letters than yours, but they are big. Many are big women. There are no big Asian/Americans here. I want you to think about that, because I asked you to, and because it's about people, it matters. If you can think about it, or respond, at least nod your head to show there's something there.

We call a conversation about people and their values and behaviors a conference on "poetics." Many of us write poems and have pretty well in the poem business. When I was a boy, I wanted to pitch the Dodgers to a complete game shutout over the Yankees in the seventh game of a World Series. It appears I am not a complete washout after all. So, even though I think you are full of shit, I love you as a person and would chase down your mugger or back you up in any number of disputes other than what matters most in poetry, where you are full of shit.

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