Let’s face it poetry is a hobby as not many can make a career of it. That might not have been true in centuries gone by but it is true now. What makes a successful poet today? Is it having a book published? Fact is most poets today self publish. I like that idea as it fits with my punk values of doing things yourself and not having to answer to someone. I have not had the time, money or know how to go about self publishing a book of poetry. I have had some poems published in different periodicals and books with compilations of poems. I have submitted a book to several universities and publishing houses who put out calls for work only to be rejected. I am usually sent copies of the book that has won their calls for work. When I see the kind of boring crap that wins I am glad I was not chosen.
I have measured my success at writing poetry by other means. After a reading at the late Book Nook in Warren, Ohio I had a group of students thanked me for what I had read. One noted, “I didn’t know you could pass political rants off as poetry.” He added, “It inspired me to watch the news and write evaluations of current events.” At a reading at Cedars Cafe in Youngstown I had someone tell me a guy was waiting outside to kick my ass for a poem I had read. I went outside to talk to the guy but he was gone. I considered that a success because my poem had caused someone to react even if it was a reaction motivated by anger. Just this month I attended a reading at the Lime Tree in Warren, Ohio. I read a poem that mention that the Keystone Pipeline had more leaks in its first year than any new pipeline’s first year ever. When I said that, I had a man from the audience yell, “That’s a lie.” For a moment I felt like President Obama when South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson yelled, “You lie.” That happened during Obama’s health care speech in 2009. I remained calm and replied, “It’s not a lie it leaked 12 times in the first 12 months.” If the man who yelled at me knew of a new pipe line that leaked more than a dozen times in its first year, I would be even more alarmed at the environmental damage these pipelines cause. Being heckled during a poem is something I can measure as another success at poetry! We all measure things differently and I was never much motivated by money.
I have been attending meetings for my job for many years. The meetings always have speakers throwing around acronyms. I find it maddening that no speaker bothers to explain them. That is what motivated me (see once again not money) to write this poem.
(Phrases of English Minimized)
I’ve been to many protests for different causes.
A good number of them were in D.C.
I’ve gone to ones sponsored by the AFL-CIO, USWA,
SEIU, ASCME, USWA, NEA, IWW and the local VCPJ.
That may have landed me on lists of the CIA, FBI and NSA
which they think under the Patriot Act is A-OK.
I went to the “Million Worker March”
with an autoworker from the UAW.
We were way short the million.
Which was happily pointed out by CSPAN,
FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, PBS and NPR.
If you’re a brother union member in trouble
give me a call I’ll be there PDQ.
When it comes to polluting companies
count me down as a NIMBY.
I’ve got TLC for the NOW bunch.
I use to work for USS which was sold to CPI.
Now I work for TCESC a job with an early ETA.
I work with autistic kids, and
ones with OCD, ADD and ADHD.
This is factored into their IEP’s.
I take yearly classes in CPI, CPR
and AED all put on by the AMHA.
Most of my bosses have been SOB’s.
Which does not stand for sweet ole boy.
I pay my taxes to the IRS.
I seldom watch my P’s + Q’s
and I don’t take any B.S.
My wages are c-r-a-p.
Which means I can afford a bike by BNX
not the ultimate driving machine by BMW.
I pay cash and don’t write IOU’s
and don’t own any 401K’s.
I belong to the ACLU, AARP, AAA but not AA.
I don’t follow sports at all.
Not the NBA, NHL or NFL.
I sometimes eat at A&W, the DQ or BW3’s.
I wonder about the seven secret spices
and herbs in the fried chicken at KFC.
I shop at the A&P or independently owned IGA’s
where I buy I.C. lites, PBR, OJ and ingredients
for my daily packed lunch of PB&J’s.
I like to play my house stereo loud
with music by C S N &Y, R.E.M.
Run DMC, AC/DC, CCR, EL & P,
INXS, NRBQ, BTO and ELO.
I once saw Johnny Rotten’s PIL
in NYC at punk club CBGB’s.
I have no use for CEO’s with their MBA’s,
nor the GOP, KKK, WTO or NRA.
Hypocrite politicians are POS’s
who always make me LOL.
I’m going to keep fighting the good fight,
until I’m MIA or DOA,
it’s just in my DNA.
That’s my POV.
You really have to hear these songs:
Slaid Cleaves: “Rust Belt Fields”
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” ~ Francis Chan