Young Poets And Old Painters

… the young poet gets it right for all the wrong reasons …

for Spencer Simons

Sometimes old painters
grow tired of young poets
biting at their heels
with questions of demanding

The old painter
shows the young poet
how to drink good beer
and appreciate cloudy days
and sneeze like his father does
but the young poet gets it right
for all the wrong reasons

“I want to drive a garbage truck for a living”
the young poet says
“No” says the old painter
“you want to write poetry”
“I want to be hungry on the streets of Paris”
the young poet says
“No” says the old painter
“you want to write poetry”
“I want to be famous”
says the young poet
“No” says the old painter
“you want to write poetry”
“I want to take drugs and drink
like Hunter Thompson
and that guy Bukowski”
the young poet says

The old painter shakes his head
and goes back to work
on a painting of a cougar’s face

“How long have you been working on that?”
the young poet asks
looking over the old painter’s shoulder

“Two years”

“When are you going to finish it?”
the young poet asks

“I may never finish it”

The young poet sits in silence
and watches the old painter paint
but not for long

Sometimes young poets grow tired
of old painters
painting

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