Feb 20, 2024, 06:24AM

Portrait of the Poet As an Old Dog

An overdone steak, an overdue debt, a reality overdose.

Img 0295.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Against the odds, I’ve overcome my life by outliving myself. It's funny somehow, like a silly little joke between unfeeling gods. Manipulative bastards. An overdone steak, an overdue debt, a reality overdose. They couldn't care less. What if your life was a joke? On becoming the first person in history to say that. Dead on arrival. Not really. In reality, you beat the odds by surviving the game. It all goes down easy enough and is totally legit. We’re crazy. Like the golden rule gone wrong, doing unto others, including yourself. Do not resuscitate. Roll them bones and play the hand you were dealt. I identify as a poet. Faithful as a dog. That is, considering my own mythology, as having played the role of a poet. Poet up! To be a poet or not.

Throughout civilized and uncivilized societies in history, the poet was known as the court jester. Timeless trickster troubadour, the comedic fool joker; in spite of being the antihero of his time, I see myself in a carnival mirror of distorted body language. Running out of tired anecdotes and sob stories about the indifferent world we trespass in. The perfect storyteller cliché to talk about us. That’s what makes it so funny. Insanity works in mysterious ways. Craziness is redundant on a mad planet. Mad is the mindless waiting room norm of humankind.

Life in the big city can do that to you. Leading to wreck and ruin. All those tragic scenes of a Stoic saint dying alone in a small room. Romantic as it appears in theory, it’s only part of the holy equation. The human condition’s fragile and reeking of sentimentality. Handle with care. Please don’t believe the hype. Bad guys cry too. Big babies in the space age. You’re not the only person who has suffered and survived. Gosh, I had no idea how sensitive I was. I must be out of my mind. Hearing voices. Talking in tongues. A twisted language is on public display. Poetry’s the bane of my soul. All I ever wanted was a bit of peace and quiet. But you have to go and muck it up by making public appearances and proclamations about poetry and poets in generally.

Nobody asked me, but if they did, I’d tell them to bugger off. Poets are nothing special. They may delude themselves into believing they have a calling. A special power that’s almost holy. Living vicariously through the world of other poets who came before them. As if they know something we mortals aren’t privy to hearing. The lilting, flowery voice of the poet says, we are different from the average schlub schmuck. Show some civility.

Make way for the pompous ones. Those articulate idiots who babble about their plight. Lamenting their sad lot in life’s worst solitaire. Oh well, born alone, live alone, and you know the rest. Can you find a happy place? Dwell among the immortals, my bony butt. I’ve always thought that poets held the ladder of culture for the rest to scramble to the top of the dung heap of high art. You need a ladder to reach such lofty heights. The old bard is dotty in the noggin. Seeing things that aren't there. Hallucinations are the bread and butter of the scribe.

What the hell is all this gibberish? Take your Jumbo manuscript to the nearest town dump. This garbage you pass off as poetry gives poems a bad rap. Have you no scruples? Poor unfortunate laureate sitting in the dark tavern, drowning in sorrow with booze and books of verse. I drank 18 straight whiskeys, followed by a generous shot of morphine. It’ll kill the strongest elegiac instincts of a young poet. The old man laments his own ignorance and prays for release from this curse of rhymes, rhythms, and all reason.

The distortion of the sense's “dear hypocrites, my likeness—my brother! To the Reader,” the old dog evokes a world filled with decay, sin, and hypocrisy, making a deal with the devil. Dear Lord, how many poets does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Dunno. They’re lit in candlelight high above in the garret. The ivory tower of all places is where poets' dwell. Closer to heaven. You can imitate the drunken sod. Accused of emulating, a coward. A beater of women and children. An old-fashioned man’s man among men. The greatest poet of all time never wrote a line or uttered a word. Taking a vow of poverty. All you need to do is look in a mirror or hide under a rock. That’s where the treasure is. The bible of poetry. It’s a beautiful problem. Take that, all you dime-store Rimbauds. A poet’s born every morning.


Register or Login to leave a comment