Paeans - and Aches

over the years

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Performance Piece

There are different ways to perform a poem
       If, that is, you're okay with the word 'perform'
       Because there are those, you see,
       Who believe that the faintest hint of emotion
       Is so last century, so high school elocution
       So they read words of passion and pain
       Of despair and decay, of revolution and rebirth
       In a sad monotone
       They can make "I love you" sound like "I hate you"
There are those who rhyme
Any old word, any time
Breaking lines any
Where as long as the penny
Falls into the slot
Makes sense of not
       And there are the ones for whom performance
       Is a nice excuse to say
       What they wouldn't say in front of Mum
       To say "Fuck!" on the microphone
       Without getting arrested or spanked
There are the earnest ones
Whose friends or children
Don't listen to them
       And the patriots who expect applause
       Because they wave a flag
       Never mind that they spout cliche
       in bad rhyme
And the awesomely erudite
The professional academics
Who don't care that no more than five
People in the world understand them
As long as those five are in a position
To hand out residencies, fellowships and grants
       And yes, the performers
       Who will bring drums that add drama to their inanities
       Costumes to clothe their banalities
       Or take their clothes off
       To Make Statements
       Except that's all they do
       Make statements, not poetry
And worst of all
The ones who have nothing to say
So, instead, they
Bitch about those who do


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