The Smell of your Pain

How you still read these things willingly,
Is baffling.
Yesterday, I booed,
And clapped,
And told a room full of them:
This moving darkness called poetry
Is never your romance and your cupcakes,
There will be no heaven after the open road.
It is the smell of your private pain,
The color of your nightly woes,
It is not in a writing class,
If it comes from a broken heart,
Let it run a little,
If it comes from a broken head,
Give it to us just raw.
If it comes from hunger,
You might as well bite your fingers now,
There is much of that in this business,
And when it is around your neck like a noose,
Let it kill you — let it.
Your spirit is useless here.

It should wield you after, and not the other way.
Write it well and be deathly ashamed of your deformed child,
Write it so well, they will hate you forever,
Ban you from the dinners,
Watch you catch fire at the church door.
It is your private thunder made almost bright,
It must be relevant to these times,
It must take an unloved stand,
It must be very yours and news to us.

You have little regard for this life-force,
You stinking idiot,
And on many occasions,
that makes two of us.

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