General Patton Addresses the Poetry Conference
Reincarnated General George S. Patton, Jr. is called on to give a morale boosting talk at a conference of poets who are dealing with an outbreak of plagiarism on poetry posting websites.
“At ease, sit down, lay down, stand on your head if you want to. Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever wrote a great poem by suffering for his art. He wrote it by letting the other poor dumb bastard suffer for his art while the true poet lived life in a celebration of passion. This English language the Bard-of-Avon bequeathed to us four hundred years ago has the best metaphors, best alliteration, best imagery, and finest objective correlatives in the world.
“You know, I almost pity the poetaster and copy-right infringing bastards we’re going up against. By God I do. We’re not just going to figuratively shoot the plagiarist bastards; we’re going to symbolically cut out their living guts and use them to grease the chains on our bicycles before we peddle off to Starbucks to get our morning lattes; we’re going to metaphorically murder those lousy Milli Vanillis by the bushel.
“Now I know some of you guys and gals wonder if you’ll chicken out when it comes time to stand up and recite your poems in front of other people. Don’t worry about it. I can assure you that when you get on stage you will perform. If it’s real it’s in your blood.
“Truth and beauty are our objectives; we are constantly advancing towards them. Life lived authentically is the strategy we use to achieve them. Anything that cages human aspirations for love and freedom is the enemy. Weigh into oppression with your verse; shoot their pet dogmas in the belly!
“I don’t want to hear about any holding on to what is not real. Let the poetaster do that. We are hanging on to only one thing and that is the reader. When he absorbs our stuff it’s going to knock him around until he doesn’t know what hit him and his life is changed forever.
“And you can forget about recreational psychoactive drugs, Doors of Perception and all that. Once you’ve tried to put your hand in the goo you think your best friend’s face has turned into, you’ll know drug hallucinations are not inspiration.
“And there’s another thing I want you to remember, and you can thank God for it. Thirty years from now at your fireside with your granddaughter on your knee, and she asks you, ‘What did you ever do that was artistic?’ you won’t have to say, ‘Well, I just phone voted for the least shitty singer on American Idol.’
“Now you know how I feel. Go-on. I will be proud to stand and deliver my poetry on stage with any one of you wonderful guys and gals, at any poetry slam, any time, anywhere. That’s all.”