I always reckoned that, if it came down to it, I could totally take poetry out. I mean, seriously, as much as one can respect poetry’s mind, poise and philosophies, it has to be observed that it wears glasses and is a little weedy. So I figure I’d totally kick its ass. Which, sadly, in a fight or flight kind of way, is a normal response to a thing fundamentally misunderstood. I’ve tried in the past but figured it was one of those things… my wiring or something.
Yet I ventured once more into Poetry’s domain, this time under tutelage and the auspices of National Poetry Day, and have been surprised at the delight of it. I seem to have been talked through the door and into a comfy chair where I’ve found the power of it, a real joy and splendour. I remain baffled, but am suddenly full of curiosity.
Poetry doesn’t box, it does one of those weird martial arts from the elevated, remote mountainous regions of Asia, where Mums and Dads pass on to their children the secret of extracting, using their pinky finger and breathing techniques, someone’s appendix through their elbow. I have a friend who studied a thing called Zen Do Kai – it’s one of those martial arts that takes the most violent parts of other martial arts and, through a process of bricolage and the hot wash cycle, concentrates them into something truly terrifying. This friend of mine, Broad of Shoulder, used to come around and say things like, “Dude, I’ve gotta show you this move, it’s awesome. Try and punch me really hard in the face.” And, after some false starts and argument, I would. Because I’m stupid. The next thing I knew I would be face down on the carpet with his foot on the back of my neck and my right arm at a distinctly uncomfortable angle, wondering what the hell just happened.
Poetry has a result like that. In that you end up on the ground, staring at the ceiling, wondering how you ended up there. There are two basic forms of martial arts: hard forms and soft forms. Hard forms are all about the application of force, direct, precise and brutal, while soft forms are about the redistribution of the force, its transmutation. The soft form is strangely intimate. Poetry is kind of like that, a soft form. It’s amazing what it can change. It is also preferable to Broad of Shoulder’s process. I mean, staring at the ceiling unexpectedly can be fun but the process of getting there really makes a difference.
So I’ll get back to you about that ass kicking.
The Press Conference:
Poetry: “Getting ready to grumble?”
Me: “What? You’re gonna alliterate me to death? What rhymes with orange, old timer? Answer me that!”
The Weigh In:
Me: “…look you guys know that while I have the utmost respect for Poetry’s record, and obvious amounts of admiration for its abilities, I can’t help but think its time is over. Modern convention has convoluted Poetry’s overall technique making it vulnerable to my superior reach and hand speed.”
Poetry: “Bring it, Fatty.”
The Post Fight Interview:
Me: “No there won’t be a bloody rematch. Get that camera out of my damn face!”
Poetry: “He floated like a butterfly… because that’s what big girl’s blouses do. Rhyme that douche-bag.”