Something I’m Working on – 2

Book Furniture • Insteading

It was hard not to notice that the poet’s shack had more books than space. The bed was sitting on stacks of literary quarterlies. The couch was made entirely of poetry anthologies. On the walls were shelves of self-published works. There was a wood-burning stove with photographs of various people spilling out onto the floor.

Nice place”, I remarked.

Well, if you insist, I will read you one of my poems”, The poet took an anthology from the couch. “Are you ready?”

I nodded unenthusiastically. He found the page he wanted. “This is from a series I did on philosophy:

Your attempts to be existential

are stupid and provincial

and your persistence

in justifying your own existence

by invoking Sartre

is putting the horse before the cartre

And, even though I respect Camus

I can’t see what he has to do with yus

If we discuss philosophy any more

there’s the door.

Because, if I hear “cogito ergo sum”

I’m leaving the rum…

I thought for a moment. “And, you want me to be honest?”, I asked. The poet nodded. “I think it’s doggerel”, I told him.

So… you liked it?”

It’s a bunch of couplets with cute misspellings meant to be funny. I’ve seen blander poetry in Reader’s Digest”

The poet looked at me earnestly, “And that’s why you like it?”

I was getting frustrated. “I’M NOT SAYING THAT I LI– sure, I loved it”

Great!”, the poet brightened, “I’ve got plenty more. Wanna hear another?”

Absolutely not!”

It’s no trouble”, he said, grabbing a quarterly from under his bed.

I’d really rather not–”

Shh, you’ll miss it”, said the poet. Then, he read,

Jason fooled around on his wife

So she took each child’s life

He angrily yelled, “Come back here, Medea!”

And, she replied, “See ya!”

And, someone published that?”, I asked.

Isn’t it beautiful?”

It’s succinct”

Here’s another”, the poet exclaimed, grabbing another quarterly.

Please, no!”

The poet cleared his throat:

As a swan, the Greek god Zeus

Gave Leda a goose

But Tyndareus was faster

So he fathered Castor

And, both guys are why

We have Gemini

Do you have a phone?”, I blurted out.

Did you like it?”

Just wondering if you have a phone”

Be honest”

I took a deep breath, “Okay. Honestly, I’d rather be napping in molten lava than listen to your poetry. I’d rather eat a full length mirror than listen to another of your contrived rhymes. I’d rather give myself an enema with a fire extinguisher than hear another set of poorly spelled couplets. I’d rather be found dead in a puddle of my own urine, feces, sperm and drool than hear just one more poem by you”

The poet stared at me, blankly. He was quiet for a long time and I thought I might’ve hurt his feelings. “Okay, I’ll read you just ONE more”, he interjected.

I can’t wait”, I replied.

He found the page he was looking for in a rather beaten and torn paperback and he cleared his throat:

H. G. Wells

found that writing about the future sells

But like a playwright from the ancient Greek

that future had to be bleak

I decided to try a different approach. “That was GREAT! It might even be GENIUS! I doubt there’s even a word to describe what you done here; but, if there was such a word, you’d misspell it and slap it into a couplet. Words fail me and I’m in Hell”

The poet thought for a moment. “So, you said ‘genius’?”

I did… and I meant nearly every letter of that word”

Now”, blushed the poet, “You’re just embarrassing me”

I’m sorry”, I replied, “I get enthusiastic sometimes”

And”, the poet remarked, “Concerning your being in Hell…”


That’s coming very soon”. His words chilled me to the core… but at least they didn’t rhyme.

20 thoughts on “Something I’m Working on – 2

    1. No… it’s more Dante than Milton. Milton could get a little tiresome, sometimes. He was a lot tiresome, most of the time. I’ve read Paradise Lost three times and I probably won’t read it a fourth.

      Moby Dick, on the other hand, will be read a few more times before I take my dirt-nap…


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