You’ve got a name for people who talk about poetry like it’s something pretty. You call them: women. Am I right or am I right?
You know there’s nothing tender about pouring out your heart like pulp hacked out of a pumpkin, a Jack o’ Lantern puking up its inside for all to see. That really it’s a dirty thing to cling onto rhyme, unloading empty verses at ungodly hours into your dark, lonely corners.
Seven years and she gets the itch? Oh man! No self-respecting poet (okay, so there’s no such thing) would buy into a cliché like that, but the woman, she says that’s the vogue, baby.
Go ahead hate her for this. Spit in the air she breathes and on the ground beneath her feet, but enough with your talk of long goodbye. A poet without a woman is like Mithridate without the plague, you know? You don’t know. How about… a dock leaf in a world with no stinging nettles? Hell, even the Green Fairy, the Queen of your Everything, she’s nothing but an eel next to the hold a real woman has over you, I’m right as rain, aren’t I?
Your stars, what did they say? You will meet a beautiful stranger and wake up tomorrow never thinking about her again! Ha! And the shrink? Bet he doesn’t think you will. Wake up tomorrow, that is. I don’t mean no offence.
Wait. You believed her when she said you were The One? Christ, fool, that’s the first thing they teach you, even before A is for Apple and B is for Butterfly. After one comes two. Then three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten…
Now, if you was to ask me, I’d tell you straight: there’s nothing that’s poetic about letting someone use you, rinse you out and leave you high and, well, not so dry. That there’s a harp on the side of a glass for every poet that walks in here humming that same song, baby. But you didn’t ask me and I’ve got no business talking straight in a place like this.
So what’ll it be? Same again? Yeah, I remember. Go easy on the tonic.
For Rob Joiner. By Shihab S Joi
Hat-doff: Shane MacGowan