POOR POETS

There is a large contingency of poor poets, artists and musicians, mostly male, in Sacramento. Certain demographic factors, including the prevalence of cheap housing and the ease of applying for welfare in Sacramento, has led to this state of affairs. Most women poets, because of their verbal aptitude, are able to subsist fairly well on office jobs which male poets tend to shy away from. Eskimo thinks that poverty is much harder on the fairer sex, and thus they work harder at avoiding it. Another demographic is that many poor male poets lack a father figure. Many of these poets grew up in poverty based mainly on the fact that their fathers were part of the Great Generation who suffered most from heart disease and died before or roughly around the age of sixty. Many of these poets were raised by their poor mothers who reinforced the poets' conception of themselves as unfair victims of circumstance and who have never received what "society" owes them. Many of these creative types followed their fathers' footsteps into the armed forces which they viewed as the "only way out." Rather than having a strong work ethic instilled in them, these poets find that no sergeant will yell at them if they don't work, and they won't go to the brig if they fail to show up at work. No authority figure is around to provide order to their daily lives, so they generally fall into a state of chaos, subsisting on welfare, short-lived jobs here and there, and the benefices of their friends and mothers. Generally, these poets are some of the most likeable and best poets around. Living in a constant state of chaos can also be construed as a constant state of "excitement," where they don't know what will happen in their lives from one moment to the next. Their complete lack of attention to "responsibility" gives them plenty of time to work on their poetry and plenty of time to run around with friends and stay up all night partying. And their angst is constantly fueled by their ire against "society" and thus their poems are usually brimming with emotion. Usually, the only things they can afford are drugs and alcohol, so they are usually in the midst of a party or on their way to one. Eskimo and one of her girlfriends once determined that the trademark of a poor poet is the lack of a video store card. If you ever happen to befriend a poor poet, be aware that the following will be required of you: you will at some point be asked to drive someone to the emergency room; you will be the one to rent videos that you are probably not interested in and you will have to be the one responsible for returning them; you will be called to bail someone out of jail; you will be called at all hours of the day and night (never try to reason with a drunk poet); you will be asked to drive the poet to places you don't want to go at all hours of the day and night in your car; you will be enticed to participate in all manner of get-rich quick schemes; you will be treated to little presents at the beginning of the month if the poet is fortunate enuff to have worked the previous month; halfway through the month you will be asked for money; if you are ever in need of help from these poets you will be sheer out of luck. Most poor poets are very well schooled in the "small press." Unfortunately, this is one of their get-rich quick schemes. They hope that by buying an old worn chapbook for 3 bucks and selling it for 5 that they will soon be "in the money." They place all their hopes of wealth on obscure texts that no one else wants to read other than poor poets such as themselves. Basically the last 50 years of the small press can be viewed as the history of poverty of male poets of America. The best example of the poor poet is Jack Kerouac upon whom most poor poets model themselves. Their lives, fueled by economic hardship and alcohol, force them to spend long hours wandering the streets meeting all sorts of characters which they can write about all night on rolls of toilet paper (cheap toilet paper). If they are graced with a best-seller like Kerouac, their new-found wealth will enable them to buy boundless quantities of alcohol to which they will avail themselves; and when all friends have abandoned them, they will return to "mommy" and the place of their birth and will die a lonely death witnessed by their only companion, the dog. Since poor poets are constantly hard-up, they have whittled their charm to a beautiful point upon which to spear the sympathies of innocent passersby. If only you could spare five dollars for a drink, you will be treated to an exciting ode. Eskimo's mommy said these guys have the sympathy act worked out to a fine art (no pun intended). Poor poets will entice you, enchant you, beguile you with whispers, paint poems about you, but if your car breaks down, they will mysteriously disappear. Other sympathetic characters, mainly from the Beat era, include Kaufman, Micheline and Welch, all meeting untimely deaths. There were few Beat-era women poets and it had nothing to do with poetic style and everything to do with lifestyle. If you choose to dance with a poor poet, it will be a short bittersweet waltz (more likely a wild hip-hoppity jig), and one day you may well, as Eskimo has tried many times, leave the bitter behind and choose the sweet simple life of the expected, the safe, the even-keeled, the placid waters, the slow steady ellipses of the sun and moon which are every bit as beautiful as the wolves' haunted laments. Poem for poor male poets.