Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Raw Deal: New & Selected Poems 1980-1994
I am not sure where I acquired this. Elaine Equi may have given it to me. I know I got it around the time I took a workshop with her at the New School, in the Fall of 1996. I had a roommate at the time, P., and we used to have a ball finding hilarious poems in this book to read aloud to one another. They're not hard to find.
The last page of the book seems to have come loose. I have a memory of it's having done so way back when, of this book always being in kind of rough shape. Now that I think about it, my memory is that the spine is broken and several pages are falling out. This is not the case. It's just the last page, the edge of which is a little frayed from having stuck out past the cover for fifteen years. It's slightly stained in the corner, probably by a splash of coffee.
There's a bookmark inside on page 87 which appears to have been torn from an envelope. On one side, stray words from an ad appear: "To Add Home."
The poem on page 87 is called "National Endowment." It reads:
Even though poetry is written with your
cock, cunt, tits, balls, mouth and asshole
it is never the by-product of pure stimulation,
inspiration or emotion. How can it be, considering
the intense bureaucratic savvy required to mine
the expert value of your internal markets? Your
mother sucks cocks in hell, but a poem can never
exist in a free market economy. It takes an almost
Stalinistic approach to Central Planning; though
as you gain in experience, now and then you may loosen
your control over its sweaty populations. Your poem
should wear an armband, with your favorite insignia.
That way, everyone will want to kiss its ass.
Stomping and farting are permissible, but only when
interlaced within a clever conceptual framework
that casts an ironic glance o'er the troops in the field.
It's not as hard as it sounds. And I'm not suggesting
you devote your leisure time to reading every trendy
new text on the management of poetic economies.
That would be cutting off your schlong to spite your twat.
Besides, there's more to a poem than the evocation of
a progressive society of discourses, working in tandem
with history to throw off its shackles. Peeking through
its barbed wire borders (like people begging to enter a
concentration camp) are the readers of the future. They are
The only ones you can trust to understand your poem.
It's too taxing for the rest of os schmutz-peckers, trying to
earn a living in what used to be the world's richest empire.(Note: Google spell check does not recognize the words "cunt," "Stalinistic," "schlong," or "twat." "Schmutz-peckers," on the other hand, makes it through the gate.)