I was talking to some guys at a poetry show
And one of them sighed “It's not what you know
It's who you know, and that's the way the world goes,
And so, even though I can make the rhymes flow,
My career goes nowhere, it's not fair!
I despair of ever getting anywhere,
Cuz I'm just not in a clique with those poets over there!
Look at Tim Clare, and that other fucking pair,
Taking fanfares from a public unaware,
I declare, that there's other poets out there!”
And then he went on stage, reading poems off a page,
In a rage, for an age, and though it's hard to gauge
The Birdcage crowd, they didn't clap loud
As he shuffled offstage, still under a cloud.
Cuz it's hard to engage, it's hard to understand,
When you see a pissy poet with some paper in his hand.
It's hard to understand, it's hard to relate,
To someone who just hates, blaming others for their fate,
Like a fifth-rate firebrand, stuck behind a mic stand,
Demonstrating nothing but command of longhand.
Just standing up doesn't make you a standup,
And no-one wants to see a poet stand with his hand up,
Reading his rhymes
Cuz he won't learn the lines,
Cuz he just won't rehearse,
And then have the temerity
To claim that his austerity
Is part of some conspiracy
Of the ruling coterie
That somehow governs poetry!
Look in the mirror if you wanna see the culprit!
Think about your crowd when you're screaming from your pulpit!
Go get a dictionary,
Look up “performance” -
Between you and that,
The gulf is enormous.
One thing I've learnt in my time as a poet:
It's not what you know, or who you know,
It's what you do with what you know
And how you show it.