Monday, September 27, 2010

The Poetry Meeting

I was at one of my favorite local establishments the other day, just killing some time and talking to the manager who is a dear and relentlessly patient and tolerant friend when the staff started re-arranging the furniture. "What's going on?", I asked. My friend answered, "They're setting up for the poetry meeting tonight." "A poetry meeting? What the hell is that?" "Just what it sounds like. They're a group of local poets and they get together sometimes and talk about poetry." At this point I began to laugh. Hard. And obnoxiously loud. Howling might be a better description. "A meeting about poetry? You've got to be kidding me!" "Hey, be nice. You're a writer. You should be more supportive." Of course, she's right. But I'm also a jerk. "Please, Poetry is for songwriters who can't play guitar. The only thing I can think of that's more useless than a bunch of poets hanging around and reciting poetry is a bunch of poets hanging around not even reciting poetry." Of course, I didn't stick around to see if it was interesting or entertaining or of any artistic merit whatsoever (what fun would that be?) but that doesn't stop me from visualizing how it went down...

"Okay everyone. Let's be seated. Welcome! It's great to see all of you again, and I notice we have some newcomers as well. Welcome to you folks also! Let's get started. Does anyone have any new business? Yes, Amber?"
"Yes. I would like to spend the entire meeting staring at this dead flower and weeping softly."
"Well, I was looking for new business and that's pretty standard..."
"I'm going to do it anyway."
"Okay, well, then I don't think we need a vote. Let's move on. Anybody else? Yes, Edna?"
"I'd like it on the record that sarcasm and juvenile humor in a critique is not helpful. As you all know, my poetry is inspired by the beauty of nature, specifically birds and flowers and fauna. I take a great deal of pride in my work and to read a critique that sounds like something scrawled in a public restroom is hurtful to me."
"Yes Edna, that is..."
"And I'd like to say that parody is a valid form of criticism and an art form in it's own rite and if somebody is too thin-skinned for poetry, maybe they should take up cross-stitching."
"Hold on, Stan..."
"Scribbling 'How much wood could a woodcock block if a woodcock could block cock' on a napkin and stapling to my poem is not a form of parody!"
"All right, Edna and Stan, I'm just going to recommend that you not read or critique each other's work, and maybe you shouldn't really even interact with one another..."
"But she's my ride here!"
"I'm your wife, you ass!"
"Excuse me. Excuse me please."
"Ah yes, one of the new people! Welcome! What's your name, fellow creative spirit?"
"Um, my name is Darnell and I'm an up-and-coming hip-hop artist."
"That's fantastic! See everyone? Hip-hop is the language of today's streets. It's poetry presented in a dynamic, vibrant form, speaking directly to young people. It's raw and passionate and exciting. And most importantly, it's living, breathing proof that the art of poetry is continuing to evolve! What's on your mind, Darnell?"
"I have completely run out of words that rhyme with 'bitch' and was hoping somebody here might have some suggestions."
"I've got a few for you, son!"
"Oh, shut up, Stan."

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