Thursday, April 19

An open letter to Wallace Stevens

An open letter to Wallace Stevens

What, sir, did you mean?
I'm referring to the time
when you said,
"Money is a kind of poetry."
But also, and
pardon me for saying this,
for perhaps being rude,
but your very existence
troubles me just a bit,
Mr. Stevens.
What do you mean by being
who it is you think you are?
Insurance salesman and poet.
Or do I have the title wrong?
Insurance executive and avant garde literary artist.
Don't you know artists are supposed to suffer?
Isn't that what life is about?
Finding the beauty in pain.
And then I learn that you said,
"Money is a kind of poetry."
And I take it you speak
from the experience
of having money,
not wanting it.
A poet speaks of writing poems,
not the battle with writers block.
How does a poet reconcile
a life meant helping people
be secure with money?
Insurance salesman.
Securities broker.
Financial advisor.
"Money is a kind of poetry."
I'm writing you sir,
in hope that you have
answers to my questions.
Questions like:
Did I go to college for this?
Should I be a starving artist?
Is there anything worse than
a disenchanted writer?
Is it OK to enjoy
the finer things in life?
I want to know must I write
to be a writer.
I just want to communicate
that some things are good.
Some things must not be corrupted.
Beauty, truth, avocados.
I've always felt that
avocados are a kind of poetry,
my favorite fruit.
But you, sir, said, that
"Money is a kind of poetry."
The more I think about it,
the more I'm inclined to agree.
Money can't buy happines
can't buy love.
You can be broke and happy,
homeless and in love.
But that's poetry and I know
poetry is a kind of money.
Money adds up and
the numbers are true.
The Bible says that the love
of money is the root of all evil.
Yet, the proper respect of money,
the perfect balance,
why yes I see it, sir.
Money has rhythms of its own.
Doesn't it?
I suppose
Am I on the right path?
Tell me,
What did you mean,
"Money is a kind of poetry?"

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Blogger R said...

After reading the collected poetry of Wallace Stevens, I was convinced he must be racist, although I don't remember why now--he doesn't say anything explicitly. I don't know. He's one of those poets where the more I read of his, the less I like any of it--it felt like it was too distanced from its subjects. Although it's very "good" poetry, I suppose, I just can't relate to it.

April 19, 2007 10:24 AM  
Blogger bl said...

I'm not sure I understand your comment on it being very "good" poetry?

His most famous poem is "13 ways of lookingat a blackbird," right?

That's an interesting comment. I guess it helps go to the complicated feelings of the narrator in this poem, myself, who knows little about Stevens and isn't sure whether he likes him or not.

April 19, 2007 10:29 AM  

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