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You’re a poet because you see how shallow

Everyone is, and you know in your heart

You are not shallow, but you don’t want to offend anyone

By telling them they are shallow.

Here’s the reason for poetry:

It’s not because you love the look

Of purple heather, and how it’s like the sea,

It’s because you want to be loved,

And are not as shallow as me.

Everyone wants to belong to everyone

But not every one is an Emily.

For every Emily, there’s a Bruce,

And in the sensitive poet war,

There’s no truce.

If you’re a poet named Bruce, and you want fame,

You better have an interesting last name.

I’m not a poet. I’m a guy,

And I look like Bruce. Looks don’t lie.

Fighting the shallow is the true poetry.

If Bruce wears makeup, that’s exactly

The shallow stuff people do

And that’s not you.

You know you’re not a Bruce, that’s easy,

But now you turn your attention to Emily.

You study her, and you find

She’s even more shallow than Bruce,

And this drives you out of your mind.

Poetry doesn’t like makeup and tattoos

And for every shallow selfie

And contrived self-deprecating remark,

Purple Emily moves further away from poetry.

And then there’s tough Meg,

Who, with sarcasm, takes Emily down a peg;

But this is an equally shallow move

And nothing you, as a poet, can love.

The shallow who try desperately to be deep

Are even more shallow than the shallow—

And just makes you weep,

Because nothing ruins poetry

Like learned obscurity.

Many are the obstacles to poetic fame.

Some involve a kiss

And some involve a name.

Some involve a publisher,

And one involves me,

Who knows you and judges you and loves you

More than your poetry,

Which nonetheless saves you, from the fate

Of love—which loves when it’s too late.



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