I don’t know what they’re saying about poetry,
I can’t understand it.
I think they’re trying to run me off.
They want to tell me I can’t know what I’m saying
unless I know how I said it
and why I said it
and the repercussions of saying it
and who else may have said it
and in what way I have said it better
and in what ways I could say it better
because no one is perfect.
And this is why in high school
I never wrote any poetry-
all they wanted to do was talk about it.
And it’s why in college
I sludged my way through papers full of lies-
all they wanted to do was analyze it.
And this is why I keep going back
to the mundane crowds for sharing time-
although their heads may have been boiled in oil
’til they look like puckered burned q-tips
with eyes bulging out like uncomprehending fish,
at least they still believe they can feel.
I’m not going to win against academia,
because no one is perfect,
but I think when they throw me to the dogs,
when they spit my name in the wind,
if they bother to say their disparaging things,
I won’t mind because I won’t know
what they’re saying.
And if it happens to be good, it’ll be
because I don’t know how to do
any of the things
BUT MY HOPE IS ALIVE
in Charles Bukowski,
because a lot of his stuff is crap
and a lot of it is feeling
and they hate him
and they still put him in their anthologies
and they love him
and they still say their disparaging things
and I think I could confound them, too.