Poetry as a career

<excerpts from a speech at a career fair>

 

It is only right, if I spoke in verse

Having gladly seen the empty seats

And black behind of the auditorium

It is only a known sight

For an experienced poet.

If one could call anyone that, these days.

 

With graying hair and falling teeth,

I say to you vehemently that it is a bad choice

But then my speech would end at the fall of this second

I am not here to sell pamphlets for poetry

Nor am I here to ward you away from words

 

I have seen how these counselors work

First they startle you with requirements

Then feed you with inspirational tales

Poetry, I assure you has no requirements

‘Not even words?’ you might ask

No, it is ok if you don’t know what basorexia means

 

Successful poets might want you to

Memorize sections of the OED

But success and poetry

Are as apart as man and butterflies

 

So I would advise you, to keep away from touts

Men who promise you a life of Shelly and Wordsworth

While the former drowned, the latter’s lungs enlarged

Poetry might not rhyme with luxury,

But it does perfectly with poverty

And I feel, there is some justice to it

Poetic justice, some might say wittily.

 

There is something heroic in seeing a tattered soul

Something worth shedding a tear for

A poet who has not a pension nor social security

It is not a wise choice, as you might have guessed

Then again, no one chooses to be a poet.

 

Poets are not writers, not technicians

Not salesmen,they are not even teachers

There are just men and who ask ‘why’ instead of ‘how’

They might ask you to write about themselves

Praise them with the sweetest of words

Pour on them the clean vanilla of compliments

 

You might have to sell your soul

Not just the one time

And spends years sulking in guilt

And more in reclaiming

What was once lost

 

They will mostly want you see nature

Write about the mountains and the sea

About the wet stones that a river passes by

Or the field of rice that are witness to pests

Of animals known and unknown, birds that fly and dont

 

Of their women both funny and desirable

People take more pleasure in anatomy description

Than the mere sight of heaven

But to end it all, a poet shall always sing about

What comes to him

 

As you know, the pay is not much

It varies from a pat on the back

To the throw of the tomato

But there is no happy thing than the face of

A man who has just completed his verse.

 

In the end, we look at them

Scraps of paper flying around

With nothing but empty cups

Of coffee and the gift of words.

 

Thank you.

 

 

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