YOU CAN’T SING
you can’t sing
you didn’t go to julliard
you didn’t study at tisch or mason gross or yale
you can’t sing, you work in the fields
you can’t even write english, for god’s sake
you don’t know the master’s tongue
you can’t sing, you don’t know how to read notes
did you know that? You do not know how to read notes!!
my god, what a mess.
and you expect to sing?
and, worse, to sing in our chorus?
well, first my friend, you need to spend a few years learning
the details of a song.
how it is structured.
my god, son, structure is important!!!
and where do you think it comes from?
from your mind, of course.
it is a rational thing.
born of the enlightenment
you can take that romantic nonsense and chuck it.
as for africa’s drums, you have to be kidding.
no, no, just sit back and listen to how a professional does it.
you can’t feed your kids?
what? you don’t have a job?
you can’t afford to see a doctor?
you’re in prison?!
oh, well, i don’t know what to say?
you want to what? write poems anyway?
ha, well, go right ahead.
but we won’t take you seriously.
you can sing in the alleyway.
or in the backroom.
you can sing alone in your hovel or cell.
but leave the stage and the auditorium
leave The New Yorker or American Poetry Review
or chicago’s 1912 Poetry to the real poets
it’s a tough break, i know
but that’s the way it is
hey, if you try real hard, you
might muster some prose one day.