Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Know-Nothings": A Poem

YOU EMBRACE Ginsberg's howls
of fiery anger and pain
but you know nothing about them.

YOU SPEAK of Blake's struggle,
Poe's insanity,
Van Gogh's ear,
but you know nothing about them.

YOU TEACH about Gertrude Stein,
Joyce and Pound,
decades of oblivion
when they generously propped one another against
the rocks of ignorance
of literature's mandarin

EVERY TIME you've been wrong
timid trend-following scholars,
forever wrong
continually and again wrong
once more a hundred thousand times wrong
about the true lasting poets
and prosists, purveyors of the word
relevant for their time and all time.

Clowns in classrooms
clutching syllabi reading lists
dribbling coffee with tired pontifications
while listeners doze
cultural hand-me-downs;
cannibalizers of writers you seek to emulate
attaching to their tardy fame your careerist wagons,
Proclaiming your connection to their independence and madness!
their unmatched sounds
Yet you know nothing about them.

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