The Poetry Rabbit Hole

I lost 2 years of my life as a writer writing poems. I was lucky to escape alive. What did I learn?

The only poem anyone remembers is the one that rhymes with Nantucket.

If it wasn’t written by Dr Seuss it’s probably boring.

Most poetry readings only have poets in the audience.

I’m pretty sure the only reason poetry is read on the radio is if the radio station gets funding for reading poetry on the radio.

The best poems have a good beginning, a good ending, and are very close together. Muhamed Ali knew this when he recited his poem to 2,000 Harvard seniors at a commencement ceremony in 1975. “Me, We.” 

Judges of poetry prizes are people nobody has heard of.

Poets can make money but only after they’ve been dead for at least 100 years.

Poetry without a band and a singer is hard to watch.

Everybody talks about the two paths you can take in life but nobody has read Robert Frost’s poem unless forced to do it at school.

If you had a job interview and you recited E.E. Cummings there’s a good chance you would not get hired especially if you used the words, “whippoorwill” and “unself.”

The best thing about reading poetry is that it cures insomnia.

The only reason poetry is self published is… does anybody care?

I attended a local venue called, ‘Words on Fire’ or something– I can’t remember. After watching a dozen open mic poets read their open mic poems including 2 poets who broke down in tears– I went up to one of the readers. I told him how much I liked his stuff. He read about observing mental patients in a ward for the criminally insane. It was funny and quite imaginative. And I asked the guy, “So what was your job when you worked at the psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane?” And he said, “Oh– I wasn’t working there– I was incarcerated.”

My roommate was a young man whose nickname was Nats because they were always circling his dreads. Nats didn’t have any teeth because he suffered from trash mouth. Bloated garbage bags sat yawning on the floor next to kitchen cupboards. Cockroaches entered and exited like frazzled waiters out of the gas burners on the stove. They liked the microwave oven, too– my compadres while I sipped my morning coffee. I accidentally kicked a rigid black liquorice-looking cat turd across the floor. 

I was more worried than a drowning man clutching a blade of grass. The bird song that emits from deep within me flew into a window pane. On the bus to get out– the fields and hills flew by like ravens and the rain drops on the pane deceived my every prediction on which way they’d run. 

Help. I feel like I’m falling into the poetry bunny hole again.

Paul Alexander is a comedian who has worked in comedy clubs since the comedy gold rush of ’95 and appeared on MTV, A & E and Comedy Central. His debut memoir ‘Our Baby was Born Premature: the same way he was conceived’ is available at all the usual places. ‘ Paul now resides in small town Canada where he runs a pumpkin race every Halloween.

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