Write What You know
Most academic poets
will not write
what they know best:
the inherent intellectual
corruption in their backyards.
They know that exposing it
would be a sure death sentence
to career, resulting in inevitable
ostracising and likely loss of friends.
So, they end up writing what they
know second best in pre-approved
format of taste and aesthetics.
While so many
have seen their hard-earnings
and retirement nest eggs
all but evaporate,
the movie stars
still drive their limos,
still occupy their mansions,
still express their solidarity,
while still projecting their shiny smiles,
as if nothing had changed at all in America.
Wisdom from the Used Magazine Box in the Public Library
Having time to kill, waiting to be picked up, I grabbed the
Men’s Health Magazine (out of curiosity) and Poetry
because, to my incredulity, the entire back cover
of the latter was devoted to a short quote by John Ashbery,
who I’d briefly confronted in Acton when he’d passed by
surrounded by his coterie of versifying protectors
on the way to a nicely remunerated high-brow reading.
“Living is a meatloaf sandwich.”
With words like that, how to be surprised by the huge sum
of corporate drug money—$100,000,000—left to that magazine?
Now, I had no problem imagining the exquisite pleasure
and bubbly chuckling those words likely provoked from readers.
Well, I let them settle for a moment while I flipped through
the other rag, past the photos of men attired in $100 drawers,
macho mean staring from the pages, and past original
articles on “Lets Talk about Sex,” “A Better Body in 15 Minutes,”
“Golf like a Pro,” “Make Her Chase You,” and “Extend Your
The latter would have made an interesting piece in Poetry.
Indeed, how might a poet extend his or her shelf life?
The stench of perfume tweetering my snout pushed me to
prematurely chuck the mag into the garbage bucket.
“With a dash of John Ashbery and a hint of Jorie Graham,”
a reviewer complimented Jane Mead’s verse.
Now, how to improve mine to the point of getting some MFA clone
to compare me to the ambulating meatloaf and poetry-contest cheat?
Poets Laureate, Puppets of the State
Poets should not be friends
of politicians—political appointees.
Think of the muzzles they
voluntarily adorn as part of that
deal, as part of career and fame!
If anything, the poet—the man,
the woman—should be a devout
enemy of the politico, left or right,
a fervent adversary of
chambers of commerce directors,
state cultural council dictators, and
anything else placing the veil of fraud
upon the nation.
The poet should be, above all else,
truth teller in these times of ubiquitous deceit.
In the supermarket lot,
I sit inside car contemplating
alone, as droplets slowly fall.
It is the buildings that capture
my attention, for they stand
as if eternally.
Twenty years ago, I was here.
Perhaps in 20 years, I’ll be again
here, but then 20 after that,
I’ll be dust, whereas the buildings
will likely still stand indifferent
to that dust and to those who remain.
George Slone has had two volumes of poetry published, one of which is bilingual, in his own translations, French/English. George has done many watercolors critical in nature and is also a cartoonist. George has over 1000 cartoons critical of literature and academe.