Poets (A Hate Song)

I hate poets.
They annoy me deeply.


There are the balladeers,
Working in service of their inner Service,
(Though, despite the seeming impossibility,
Their hackneyed verse is even worse)
Creating tortuous rhyme
Which slows down labyrinthine narratives
Ending up in some deus ex machina
So implausible that it would make Euripides blush
(Most often courtesy of some unforeseen projectile
Or sudden viral contagion;
Would that their creators meet such a fate!)


I come not to praise the so-called sonneteers,
But to bury them.
They are an earnest lot,
(Lord knows that they are earnest)
And they will make their fourteen lines rhyme
(Though sometimes the rhyme scheme screams for mercy)
And hang the cost.
Though their narratives are head-scratching things,
And their iambs proceed with the steadiness
Of a nonagenarian church pianist
Doing her damndest to fight the wedding march to a draw,
They are content, nay, proud with their work
Because babble rhymes with Scrabble
(Though they are not particularly proficient with the latter,
They have the former down to an art.)


Let us not forget the Buk-zombies,
Those apostles of aphorism,
Most of whom speak of their departed deity
As if he were an old drinking buddy
(Never mind that most of them were two or three
Or perhaps not even a bad idea
In the back seat of some mom’s Buick
When he exited this mortal plane, stage left, even.)
One’s mind is boggled whilst considering
The expanse of the bar required to accommodate
Everyone who would like to
(Or worse, have claimed to)
Buy old Charlie a beer, not that he’d stand for a round.
They are a sullen horde, this lot,
Best dealt with by aiming for the base of the skull.

Ah, the confessionals, Lord have mercy upon their souls
(For they shall have none upon ours.)
They feel so many things so deeply
As such things have never been felt before
(They have not read their Sexton, their Snodgrass,
Their Lowell, their Pl–well, no,
They have all read their Plath.)
It is, from the moment they arise in the morning
Until such time they set aside their fears and let sleep take them,
All too much for them,
And they bravely face the days
Until such time they care bear to take action
And fling themselves from some convenient precipice.
We should, as a service to them and ourselves,
Ensure the soles of their shoes
Are sufficiently worn and slippery.

I hate poets.
They annoy me deeply.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is modeled on the “hate songs” penned by Dorothy Parker during her tenure at Vanity Fair, when that magazine was in its infancy. Ms. Parker was a woman of considerable wit and talent, so we differ in at least three areas. Let’s proceed under the assumption that I’m kdding here.


12 thoughts on “Poets (A Hate Song)

  1. I’m not sure if this is on topic, but my dear friend we called “captain” knew more about cars than most car salesmen and when we wandered the showcase area of dealerships, unintentionally drawing the gaze and spiel from sellers, I was always impressed by the way captain talked, all his knowledge, but I was also feeling a bit sad for the dealers. They had nothing left to stand on.

  2. I love this poem about poets, especially your image of the 90-year-old church pianist trying to keep up with the processional. Brilliant! Your categories and observations are why I have never attempted the difficult craft of poetry.

  3. I hate most poetry, too. Not necessarily the poets, though. I haven’t met too many. Well, I’ve met people who dabble in it once in a while, like myself, but I’m a hack. I try, but I ain’t no poet, and I KNOW it. Hey, that rhymes.

    I like your poetry, when it’s not too highbrow, and Steve Myers’ poetry. When I can figure them out! But that’s a shortcoming of me, not of you and Steve. You guys are intullexuals.

    One type of poet that you left out is Ogden Nash, who doesn’t really fit in any one particular category. He’s breaks all the rules, and is funny as hell. The Bill Veeck of the poetry set; I’ll bet he was hated and resented by a lot of poets the way that the American League baseball owners hated Veeck.


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