The soliloquy of an Art major


Is just reading dead old white men’s words enough?

I think in horror on my graduation day

Oh, god, what have I done?

How is my broad familiarity of twentieth century Surrealist poets going to help anyone?

I know Shakespeare was bisexual

But that doesn’t fix climate change

or the migrant worker crisis

or someone’s father dying of leukemia

or even a faulty water pipe by the kitchen sink

I am immune to the misconstrued irony of thinking that Robert Frost was telling us to overthink before picking between two paths in the woods

when actually he was being tongue-in-cheek and sardonic and caricaturing his friend

contrary to the infamous misreading by ninth grade public school teachers

But…. that doesn’t do shit

When the plague strikes,

am I going to be reading bedtime stories to leprosy victims?

And read Jane Austen to a multinational syndicate

When a businessman goes into a cardiac arrest midflight, they will call for someone with extraneous understanding of coronary artery diseases (that is a doctor)

Not the guy who took Russian Realism as his elective in final year (that is me)

(“Oh, gee, quote Tolstoy and let’s see if it helps,” the lipsticked stewardess says and the rest of the flyers laugh horribly)

And if you want any serious authority in this conversation, don’t quote Dead Poets Society to me

I hope there’s still time to unfuck my life

I should have gone to medical school, that’s it

Where people wear lab coats and dissect frogs, not Homeric pentameters

Or law school, possibly

Where they arbitrate disputed property and not divided opinions

They also aren’t attacked by the government as much

India, why are your libraries full of teargas?

If the government is operating on a baton per brain cell policy, I want two of none

BATONS FOR BRAINS, they said

(But if we really think about it, everything’s an invention to confuse us away from death, whether its tits or trigonometry, so it doesn’t really matter what you study in the end but still….)

But I hate being an impractical God

And I hate carrying the psychic baggage of dead authors in my bag pack

Art schools are the carpentry of unserviceable magic

You teach poetry to someone who will teach poetry to someone who will teach poetry and then die

It’s all fairly useless

Like pre-peeled bananas in plastic wrappers or a goldfish walker or breast cushions or

Moonlight, for example

Oh yes, this is a poet offending against moonlight

But think the things moonlight isn’t good for

It doesn’t aid in photosynthesis

It isn’t sufficiently bright for me to read a book outside

It’s neither a creation God nor a savior God

I’m sure you’re tempted to Google the biospheric necessity of moonlight and prove me wrong

That’s the problem

Everybody wants to prove everyone wrong

My mother wants to prove my father wrong, my father’s mistress wants to prove my mother wrong, soap wants to prove dirt wrong, postmodernists want to prove the modernists wrong, the pagan gods want to prove the Christian god wrong, lawyers wants to prove lawyers wrong (because that’s their commerce), and moral relativists are intent on proving the entire concept of wrongness wrong

and if you — whoever you are, a socially beneficial doctor or lawyer or my high school bully or my college professor falsely accusing me of plagiarism or my father — want to prove me wrong:

Well, I am wrong

I always have been

If you haven’t noticed, it’s the whole point of this poem

(…………..and all my big poems)

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