Poem for Bearded Wizard 231

For a shadow-being,
it’s bizarre how you know
everything about everything

proselytizing to social media’s lower orders
smirking behind that sweet ironic
Draconian curtain

of unaccountability
and back-patting your anon-self
within the folds of your wizard’s cloak.

How powerless and idiotic we are
that we don’t know what you look like
or how old you are or even what

to call you besides that dippy Middle-earth
handle you’ve brought forth for yourself,
we who are so plebeian in our sloppy stupid

fumbling and swinging
at thin air
as you snicker and toss your glitter

all over Twitter and Tumblir and Prancer and Dancer,
working your magic, oh how we never fail
to amuse you

with our simple families and
sensible shoes.
And if we guess anything wrong about you that well proves

how our education failed us,
not knowing the unknown, not seeing
the unshown. Did you go

to college or were you born
this masterfully skilled puppeteer?
We are at your mercy

computer creepo with the profile
pic of Gandalf elf of the staff, please don’t
ruin your sleeve tee-heeing at us

as we cringe and hope
you’re not some dog

but merely a quarter ton dick-choker
couched in a crotch-stinking basement
writing flash fiction about a sixties tv show to

outsmart the clownish working-
class Bukowski clones too tired even
to be embarrassed for themselves,

as we hope you’re not some freako
mofo cutting heads off dolls and yanking
hairs out of your shoulders like some flipped

out gorilla
but merely a record store manager
hipster or some grade school

sub too frightened of getting your whacking-off
hand slapped by the superintendent to be up-
front online or anywhere else.

Bio-less spook-a-ninny
cramming the most amount
of arrogance and acronyms possible into

your comments and leaving
them dead and useless on the altar of anonymity,
we truly hope you’re just some zitty telemarketer

or renaissance festival troglodyte holding
a turkey leg up to your
egg-hole and not

a preternatural psychopath who hasn’t
slept in a fortnight
with a couple hundred

rat traps spread around you in a wall-
to-wall pentagram
all ready to snap.

After Listening to an Interview with Amy King in Which She Read Her Poem ‘Wings of Desire’ and Nearly Sprained Her Arm Patting Herself on the Back

“It seems easy to make things that sound nonsensical to people, but it’s really hard to actually do such a thing.”

-Amy King

No, it isn’t hard, Amy.
It seems easy because it IS easy.
It’s one of the easiest things you can do.
Children can do it,
chimpanzees can do it,
brain-trauma victims can do it,
drunks can do it,
people can even do it in their sleep.
It’s certainly easier than riding a bike
or processing insurance claims
or digging ditches
or selling hot dogs on the street.
It’s easier than writing even a half-assed
romance or crime novel
or making somebody laugh a real good laugh
or making somebody cry a real good cry.

It’s easy
which is why it has no value
monetary or otherwise
which is why you have to hype it
and build it up
which is why you’ve got to play your con
and spin your spin
(the real skills all your schooling teaches)
which is why you connect yourself to social movements
to get attention and admiration
and act as if the world should thank you
for “prying open the portals of mindfulness”
when really you’re just throwing spaghetti
o’s at the wall
and diddling your thesaurus.

Was it “actually” hard “borrowing” that title for your poem,
Wings of Desire?
Does the fact that it was borrowed neutralize its triteness?

Was it “actually” hard writing
“Life’s little deaths, petite orgasms, as the French nearly said
but never came to?”

Was it “actually” hard realizing you’re way ahead of those Frenchies?
They almost got there!
So close.
They didn’t even know how to kiss until Amy came around.

Was it hard writing
“I am 31, which is very young for my age?”
I’ll bet that line took a lot out of you.
I’ll bet you had to take a nap
after penning that gem.

Almost anything is harder than this, Amy.
Running a mile is harder
fucking is harder
making a pie is harder
learning to say “screw this bull-crap” in Spanish is harder
using chopsticks is harder
starting a campfire is harder
changing a typewriter ribbon is harder
driving a stick-shift is harder
drawing a tree is harder.

You know, if a person is doing something truly hard
it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching
that it’s hard
and you don’t have to tell them it’s hard
unless they are stupid
(which you think everyone is, I know)
or unless it’s just not “actually” hard at all
unless it’s as easy as taking a snooze
or a crap
or sitting on a chair
unless it’s as easy as eating vanilla zingers
while watching Sopranos
unless it’s as easy as calling yourself a saint
or making up your own nickname
or pretending you have something to teach the world
or that you can “jostle people out of their regular
ways of thinking”
like you’re a magician making an elephant disappear

right before our brainwashed, capitalistic,
non-intersectionalist, chauvinistic, trans-gender-hating

A pickpocket rattles me out of my comfort zone, Amy,
not you.

It’s a hard road,
a hard row to hoe
but it’s all worth it
when you can say

“My work tends to make people think
in ways they’re not accustomed to”
with a straight face
that after so much practice
you really make look easy.

A Poem Written by a Cranky Old Fart

So very merry and raring, the millennial darlings
of American literature
lick their greasy placenta
like foie gras
and nearly faint when they contemplate
their own awesomeness.

They hop around surrounded
by pods of grab-ass homies, so pc they pee themselves
and it takes some cheek muscles
not to hurl when they throw
howler monkey shit

behind kickstarter smirks, cutesy juxtapositions
(old worn out hoodies
with brand new 60 dollar jeans)
piggly wiggly toes, student-loaned
and breakfast cereal sweetened
with corn syrup and irony.

Their poetry is a card trick
they can never get right, a skateboard maneuver
they habitually bunk
but somehow still bow and thank
their fashion mag fans
(of all colors)
self-satisfaction hovering and fuming
like bean sprout farts and clove cigarettes
in the most photographable dive bars around.

The clever scenesters catch glimpses
of themselves in storefront windows
and pretend
it’s a happy accident, practice
smug juts, flip actressy hairdos, rub their abs
like they’re hoping

a genie might jump out, search for their
asses in their skinny pants, see themselves
in tv commercials
and swell with validation,
giggle like girls at slumber parties, while even death
is a joke because they’re sure
they will never die, immortal
as vampires or zombies, the fast talking

tattooed gals of literature, the you-
vegan-geeks of literature, the I-spent-a-week-in-
machine street poets of literature, the fuzzy faced poo
bears of literature, the life-as-we-know-it-
is-dead bottle-feeders of literature, hip

as the day is dope, cool

as the slope is steep.

There is This Idea

that in poetry or art
a man can be free
though most aren’t.
Most bring the same constraints
into their art
that they carry every day in life
but there is still
this idea
that freedom might be possible.

It would be better to be free every waking moment
free in your soul
but I don’t know if there have been
more than a half dozen men in history
who have been able to do that.

So we have art

and people tie it up and butcher it
and put it behind bars.

I’ve been touched by time.
I’ve been touched by my time.
I’ve been touched by the artists
that aren’t free in their art
but instead look at it as a job
a career
a paycheck
a ladder to respectability
instead of the opposite of all of that
instead of the antidote
to all of that.

There is this idea
and I think it’s a good idea:

to be free in your mind,
to be free in your art.

Some Things Never Change

A lot of poets like to bash Bukowski.
It seems to be the pivotal point
in a young writer’s life, when he claims
he’s coming out of his “Bukowski stage.”
Next, he’ll tell us
Bukowski was a hack and a drunk, and then we’ll know

he’s truly arrived.
It doesn’t matter that 90 percent of poets
all sound alike, dead, tone-
deaf, uninspired, overly careful, pretentious,
no natural flow, churned out
by the same MFA mold, that’s all ok, that’s all
fucking perfect, the way it should be, just
old news.

As much as the snob faces hated him
when he was alive
a whole new generation of snob faces
hate him now, so don’t
go telling me you’re coming out of your
Bukowski stage, or that you’re moving

on from the “I” poems, as if that’s so very
brave and mature and now your poetry
rises into the heavens
like the Dalai Lama’s anal vapor.

You can talk all you want about your superior craft
and ideas and theories and explanations
but Bukowski still
makes me want to read him
over and over, while I can
barely get through
most of YOUR books

knowing the used bookstore won’t even buy them back
for a nickel
while Bukowski’s books
fly off the shelves like angels.