29 January 2009

Poetry Is For Assholes

When I began filling these pages, a little better than three years ago, I sure as fuck never intended writing poetry for you. I had not written poetry since the year Reagan got elected.

Sonja knew I had written a little poetry during the years I had lived on the other side of the edge so she would sometimes ask me, "Why don't you write a poem for me, something romantic."

I never did. I did not write poetry any more.

That asshole Reagan had crushed my poetic spirit. Instead of writing a poem called Zero Tolerance I metaphorically turned to running guns instead of writing poetry. Unlike Rimbaud, however, I did not die while I was not writing poetry. So here I am writing poetry for you motherfuckers.

I hear one in one hundred Canadians will crack open a book of poetry in any given year. There are about 100 people on my street. I am the one who opens up a book of poetry every once in a while. None of my neighbours knows I am the one. If they did and one of my neighbours is wise (which is unlikely because wise Canadians are even more rare than poetry readers) they would say, "That's why Beer drinks so fucking much - booze is his muse."

Right! Now ha, ha, ha...
I am a fucking poet
I am an Anti-Reagan
Don't know what I want
But I know how to get it
I wanna destroy the passerby

'Cause I wanna read Poetry
It ain't for Assholes

Poetry for Canada, eh
It's coming someday and maybe
I give a wrong time stop a traffic line
Your future dream is a shopping scheme

'Cause I wanna read Poetry
In the motherfucking city

How many ways to get what you want
I use the best
I use the rest
I use the breweries
I use Poetry
'Cause I wanna read Poetry
It's the only way to be

Is this Percy Shelley or
Is this Leonard Cohen or
Is this the N.L.A.
I thought it was Canada, eh
Or just another country
Another tabloid bankruptcy

I wanna read Poetry
And I wanna be Poetry
(Oh what a name)
And I wanna be a Poet
(I get pissed, destroy!)


Jon said...

Beer, this health kick that I am on (would that it were so simple) has allowed me to outlive John Updike, allowing me some chance to claim my rightful place in the world of American letters. I am however but the dimmest of literary lights illuminating a small patch of ground in your mighty, maple leaf shaped shadow.

Let me put it this way. In a fair beer drinking contest for Canadian literary supremacy, you could beat out Robertson Davies any day of the week.

Unfortunately, I'm sure that the gang from the New York Review would slip a date rape drug into your beer, so as to protect the supremacy of their boy:

("There's a principle involved. For God sakes the man's a tenured professor at MacLeans. It's like the Harvard of the North.")

Nonetheless, you're at least as worthy a poet as any I've read lately.

I tell people I write and read poetry. Here in California they say, "Oh. Uh-huh."

"I have a blog. You should read it sometime."

"What's it about?"

"Oh, I don't know. Mostly I talk some shit. Every once in a while I write a little poem."

"Oh. Uh-huh."

With some degree of seriousness: Shit Beer, you're pretty good. I like your stuff.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

I read Davie's stuff years ago. I liked the way he wove the mythical with life in motherfucking Ontario.

Jon said...

Davies put me off modern lit for about ten years. Seriously. There was a spate of books about the sexual adventures of recently divorced literature professors. They were all written by recently divorced literature professors. I figured a doctorate ought to make you smart enough to write about something more than your own dick. At least write about somebody else's dick. I got all of Davies' mythological references, but it all turned to lead as I read about the intimate details of the lives of the Ontario professors.

That's when I started reading Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene. I don't know that they were that much better, but they tried harder.

These days, I mostly read science fiction.

Laila said...

Ok, this is what makes you so interesting Beer. Sonja is a lucky woman.I'ven never had a guy write a poem for me, I'm always the one doing the writing. Mostly under my maiden name though, keeps me free in anonmynity.

Have some under my Writing page, although I dont swear nearly as much as you...hehe

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Science fiction never appealed to me, not even as a boy. A science fiction I did like was Simon Snotface's "Prisoner of Evil." It's available from the East End's very own Gofuckyerself Press.

I ought to give Conrad another look. Never been past the first page or two of his books. Read most of Greene's novels on my breaks at a long gone sawmill.

Now that you mention it, I could write about my dick more.

laila said...

C'mon Beer,I dare you. I'll show you my poem, if you show me yours.

Andraste said...

Same here with Conrad. Must have tried "Nostromo" about 50 times. Never got further than page 4.

Poetry? There's poetry in the settling foam on a pint of Guinness. All written forms are only trying to be the settling foam on a pint of Guinness. Never more than 5/12 of an inch.

Except Larkin. And even then...

ib said...

Yes. At the risk of turning this into some kind of fan club, I must state for the record - make it a 45 - that I infinitely prefer reading your poems to most out there, Jon excepted.

I liked Bukowski, naturally. The humour did it for me, the sheer humanity; elevated it above most of the turgid po-faced shit. And I came late to Raymond Carver, but like him despite the literary establishment credentials.

Science Fiction is good for the soul. Better than Carver.

Bukowski got it wrong in doling out his small scraps of literary praise most of the time, I always feel. If you're going to weave yourself a heart of darkness you better learn to laugh. Something Chinaski did better than most. Hell, yes.