The Rarity of Our Society

I

The rarity of our society
That we can live off of what we’ve made
Is a thing fleeting the grasp of our rich men
That it can be lost.

The hoary head, wisely
Knows he made his thirty cents
When he was a young man.
And by work he became rich.

There have been other societies
Other Chinas, as the Chinese would call Rome
In its peak, where men lived and ate
And were not slaves.

Reading a “Communist Newspaper”
Casually, I thought he meant it was really communist.
Happily, I entertained he was misguided
But was happy that the paper was published.

He meant the common Newspaper was Communist.
Unfortunately, Capitalism can have those same problems;
We used to call it Feudalism, Mercantilism,
Guilds that controlled all trade.

He mentioned going to college.
One hundred thousand dollars of debt
I’d probably never pay off.

He mentioned painting.
I’m a writer… my soft hands testify
To the fact, and my inherent lack of any other ability.

Yet, there is a guide below giving a writer tips.
Tips I will never follow…
It is not the pretty words that make a poem.

But what it means.
And the fact that there are tips
Shows why the Earth is slowly becoming poor.

II

Seven people read this poem, not one liked it.
It was suggested, “Do what you love, though.”
What I love? I can write whatever I want…
But harsh truths nobody wants.

Do you understand what that suggestion means?
It means none of you will eat.
Impossible standards that preclude Shakespeare
From ever making money.

Hypocrites. You self censor, making this profession
Unable to support those who need it.
What if I can… hypothetically,
Write well? Does an artifice of pretty lies
Create your love for poetry?
That isn’t artificial?

Need I write in pentameter?
Need I write in tetrameter?
Need I write at all?
Hypocrites.

So you don’t like reading this…
Well… you pay your twelve dollars to enter a contest
That gives you points.
A racket… I’ll “Write what I love,”
Because what I love is the truth.

The truth is… I need to eat.
And this poem is about eating…
It is about truth…
Truth doesn’t need a cozy little “Active Language,”
Nor criticize my helper verbs.
I can take them out, and still write just fine.
I’ve done it all.

The truth… I don’t eat for the same reason you don’t.
Standards that impose harsh taxes on talent
But none on simony.

III

Grammar snobs jeer at a misspelled word.
How it got there, maybe a typo?
In all actuality—a pet phrase, give me that—
You can understand I meant “He”
And not “Me.” Can’t you?

What I really mean to say
Is that the market demand
For “Active Language,”
No, “Mary Sues”
No, “Exposition,”
No, “Creativity,”

Nobody understands the reference to China
I know… So I spell it out rather than leave it as an Easter egg…
Pretentious? Maybe. But I have written the Odes of Brittos.
So… spare me to not write pretty
And to give heed to a whim.

No… nothing is so exceptional about Frost
Yet he’s read like a god.
I don’t want to be a god.
I want to eat, and pave the way so all can eat
With what they work hard to produce.

Do you recognize those suggestions are just to frustrate you?
To tell you, “You will never be good enough
“Because you weren’t born with a silver spoon
“And you weren’t born into society.”

So you wrote like Robert Frost.
Nobody will purchase it
Because one man presides over another
And time and chance forsakes all things
When a writer doesn’t come from the right background.

Yet, work hard he says…
I work hard. The hardest working Bartleby
And will you recognize that’s a reference to Melville?
I’ve scribed in ink several dozen notebooks.
Obviously I’m a Scribner.
I don’t mind hand writing,
Though I’ve been told,
My whole life
That I have a writing disability
AND I CANNOT WRITE!
Hand write.
But, two brief cases worth of handwritten notebooks

I am a hard working Bartleby—
And none of you know the reference, do you?
I don’t insult your intelligence
But that if I wrote Plato’s Republic
With a Heroine out to destroy the society
And perhaps had a few children die
I’d be a millionaire right now.
That’s what you want.

But it’s not what you’re going to get.

IV.

Life is a harsh vicissitude of bitter medicine.
I love my society because I can
As I assumed
Write a communist newspaper
And live.
As stupid as it might seem
To be a communist
And make money on a Newspaper,
As unthankful,
As ungrateful,
It is their right if that’s all that can feed them.

Sitting next to the old man
I thought he was a communist
But he was a die hard capitalist.
Rightly, I can’t tell the difference right now
Between Communism and Capitalism.
We like things neatly defined
But what I told him
Is exactly what I’ll tell you.

You can have any economy under the sun
If you have a just and right people.
Equity cannot be legislated
It must be practiced by every one of us.

But, when I see someone exploiting the hopes
And the dreams, of people who, if given the amount of work
Still cannot earn a living… I tend to question my economy.
Not only because I’ve made a small amount
On what is objectively good poetry…
But the fact that I see this website prescribing me
A style, when I’ve worked 10 years, with over 20,000 hours
Producing my style.

As if a style were all it took to get published
And everyone works hard on perfecting their style
But says the same cliche poems over
And over,
And over,
And over,
And over again.

Rather, I’d take no style
With something meaty to say.
Do you understand?
I hope you do.
A style isn’t worth a damn
If you have nothing to say with it.
And to have the audacity
To tell me a thing about my style
Leads me to believe that it is a corruption
In the market that doesn’t allow
Me, but does allow poets who know nothing
About punctuation
Earn from their work.

Please, indulge me in this…
Like I said it’s simony
And I use it to connote
That rather than sell our work
We buy our work, as Authors
Which means that people don’t read our work
But us.

To which I would reply,
Then if nobody looks at a painting
Nobody reads a book
Nobody listens to a song
Nobody watches a chess game
Nobody buys a wooden duck
Nobody appreciates a little crystal swan
Nobody appreciates a hand carved folk art piece
Nobody desires to look at Venus or David…
Then really, there can only be poverty.
Those things are what make us human,
And to realize that we add salt to this life
Of humdrum, and not only that
But teach and hand down traditions…

It’s difficult for me to communicate what I mean fully

 

V.

Finally, an Ode

Jane… my beloved Jane…
You’d never get published today.
Love, I love you more than all the rest.

Leo, my good father, Leo…
Nobody would read you.
You are the man who conceived me.

William, oh you wordsmith
Nobody would love you like me.
Nobody… nobody.

Frank… Paul’s a Mary Sue.
Jules… nobody wants to hear about your submarine.
Wells… who cares that you could predict nuclear war.

Beloved’s a weak word…
I love you is a cliche…
Do understand, Amarisa,
That’s what the poem is about.

 

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