Ars Poetica: Payable On Birth

“…and it was a woman’s face… ‘Here’s a quarter; go put it in a washing machine!’” —Sonic Youth, “Washing Machine”

Every of my lines is a scandal,

every poem a conspiracy.

Young man, should you want to find yourself

become a poet one day,

I’ll help you.

First, remember:

Satan hates every poet—

we write what is obvious.

Every poet is the teenage-riot garage band

that kicked out Satan to play rehearsal

at the bassist’s girlfriend’s aunt’s house.

She’s a good aunt—Nancy, in her 50s, still wears

only jeans and a bra to concerts;

she bakes cookies, provides methamphetamine,

checks ID’S at the door;

she finds a date for her boyfriend’s gay brother

and pays off the neighbors in pot and free Wi-Fi.

Her boyfriend DJs

while his brother—date in arm—

spends the afternoon before decorating.

Second to being a poet:

all poems worth writing

are love poems.

Every poem is written in your Mother Tongue

with Father Sky’s heart.

Every poem is a post-card from your afterlife

to yourself.

Payable on birth.

GOD, what does your mother say—

say without having to say it—

God, what does your mother think

about me?

Me—your Wild child—

me, with poetry’s salvation:

open mic readings, no religion?

No public image.

Third, I don’t know why—

I don’t know—

I don’t know why you say goodbye, love, when

I say hello.

Hello, hello!

Guess I’ll still have to

carry that weight.


And in the end—

And in the—

And in the end, the love that you make—

Is equal to the weight

of your soul.

And I’ll always be Brian David Thedell-Luke Skywalker,

poet without end.