Bit by bit they deconstruct the thing:
no frets, no pegs, no bridge, removing its
harmonic parts until at last each string
is slack, and lacking resonating bits.
They put the rest, the body, neck, and head,
aside as too much like a prop for those
whose earnestness is all they need instead
of craft and art to fake that they can sing.
So there they are, on either stage or page:
The foremost poets of the modern age,
Who, writing their relineated prose,
Will swagger as they grimace, strut, and pose
Pretending they are better than they are
While playing nothing but an air guitar.
Marcus Bales writes: “Back in the day I spent more time than I should have arguing that freeverse was prose, and that freeversers are prose writers, not poets at all. Of course, when you strike at the core of a belief-system those who believe it feel you are attacking them personally, and respond with insults. They cannot address the reasoning of the arguments, so they resort to ad hominem. I was searching for a metaphor to substitute for argument, something that would reveal the fundamental paucity of the entire freeverser credo that prose is poetry if only they say it is. What I was looking for was something to demonstrate the posers as mere posers. What, besides writing prose and then arbitrarily or whimsically relineating it to resemble the ragged-right look of poetry on the page and calling it poetry, was an even more ridiculous example of that pose? Here it is.”
Not much is known about Marcus Bales except that he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, and that his work has not been published in Poetry or The New Yorker. However his ’51 Poems’ is available from Amazon. He has been published in several of the Potcake Chapbooks (‘Form in Formless Times’).
Photo: “Airnadette: Air Bass Guitar” by DocChewbacca is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0..