Writers write of peace and pestilence, partridges and parasites, prima donnas and prima dons
Because apathy doesn’t read well
But if the earth were a soft-boiled egg
And we whacked off the top
Like Louis IV used to do
And Louis didn’t like eggs
ANd we wouldn’t like the earth
We’d find a core of complacency
We wouldn’t find people living in the center
We’d find their nature
like the soft, malleable brains in our heads
like the places we live
Not lava but lava-lamps, mostly vegetable oil and a little food coloring
Then all the disaster films would make sense
Brain candy for candied brains
About candy escaping and taking over
Almost but not quite.
We’re talking about apathy, after all.
Just the force of ooze, of squirt, of an occasional burp
Not too disturbing, and then it goes back to sleep.
Until some poet tosses another virgin off a cliff
Until its hood doo, geronimo, ungawa
Or some other ritual ride to the rim of the volcano
And that’s what we are – a priesthood
Inventing the place to stand so we can wield the lever
That will move the earth, only we don’t cut it open
We color it all over like an Easter Egg
So you need us to tell you lies:
Need us to say, “Gee, Buffy, you have a brilliant personality.”
“Gee, Bif, your exploits are truly fascinating.”
Need us to make it look like candy when its a deviled egg
You put microphones in our faces,
You who don’t write, or sometimes write, or once wrote,
or write but don’t want anyone to know what you wrote
or like the idea of writing but aren’t listening
and clap regardless of what we say,
when it sounds good, just to be polite, because others are clapping
you want to be cultural
(and we’ve convinced you that culture is form not content)
shell not yoke, and yoke reminds me of a proverb:
don’t yoke a donkey to a bull
but how can that be if we’ve made everyone donkeys
if we are the Birth Control Committee, full of bad jokes:
“You can have two asses this year but no bull.”
If all eggs, if this egg, if this world belongs to writers
As trite readers and pedantic publicists often say.
But we are surface matter, parasites, mold, scum, residue, superficialities
And the difference between us and you is that we’re less honest:
We pretend apathy is anger, sadness, or joy.
We write poems about it. We make our apathies extraordinary.
Writers can’t afford to save the world – there’d be nothing to write about.
We deal in emissions, waste, the sweat on the egg, in blood.
But that’s what everyone else is and that’s an honest existence.
That’s worth more than being written about.