Hi there, folks.
I’m not posting poetry today. Honestly, I really don’t feel like it. I mean, I have some I can throw up and get my usual three or four likes out of the nineteen people that follow me, but not today. I just don’t feel like it. It’s been rough the past couple of days. Hell, it’s been a rough thirty-five years but we’ll stick with the recent past. I’ve been sick and depressed. I’ve been out of work since last May, my poetry book has sold thirteen copies since August, and I’ve received several rejection notes from lit mags since. My ulcer rages and it’s hard to sleep. I’m lucky if I get twenty hours a week. Ah, well. At least I write during that time. No use lying in agony, might as well spill it out on the virtual page. Also, I sleep on an air mattress which has sprung a leak. When I go to bed, I start out inflated but when I wake up, I’m on the cold floor. My back is killing me from that. The funny thing is that the cockroaches get bold when the mattress deflates and I end up coming to in an urban version of Gulliver’s Travels, with these little creatures crawling all over me. I’m surprised they don’t strap me down but perhaps they are saving that for the spiders. And I thought mosquitoes weren’t supposed to be around for the winter yet I wake up with bites all over. At least, I hope it’s a mosquito. Run down, that’s all I feel anyway. I always try to imagine hanging out with the great poets of our day or least those considered great by the establishment. Yeah, there’s Billy Collins (who incidentally teaches here a Lehman College, my girlfriend’s employer), Philip Levine, Mark Strand, all the Laureates. They have nice glasses, nice clothes like suits and turtlenecks. They look distinguished. They look like POETS. Then there’s me; old Black Flag shirt, torn Dickies, shoes with holes. My grizzly beard, grey and brown, is a visual noise of ugliness and fear. It is not distinguished. What about the authors? Maybe I can join their club? How about it, Jimmy Patterson? I know I don’t write a novel a week like you do but I guess it’s because I really try to forge my words on a page while you just follow a formula for your publishers and your simple minded readers who care not for the “literary” as long as the New York Times says it’s okay. Well, maybe I don’t belong there either although if John Kennedy Toole were alive or maybe David Foster Wallace… maybe. Fuck. The good ones are all dead. Commercial progress has no room for creativity, no room for artists. There are only entertainers. Song and dance men and women whose only innovation is how well they bullshit the reading public. Then there’s me. Someone who walks with the greats of the past like Auden, Lorca, Kerouac but probably has no place among them. I have no college education, just barely passed high school. I’ve worked retail jobs all my life. I have nothing, just the words that I eek out when I have the strength and inspiration to and even those are not good enough. I was thinking about giving up writing today but if I do that, then I should just give up on everything right? I failed at music, I failed at starting a business, I failed over and over again. What makes this any different? I have Born to Lose by the Heartbreakers going through my head right now. I am poor and I am desperate. I am poor and I am dying. The rich folks don’t think I’m worthy of their patronage. Maybe they’re right. Maybe I’m just not worthy of this life. BORN TO LOSE.