Once they get to a certain age, poets should be put to sleep; I don't mean all poets, not real poets, successful poets: but poets like me, second-raters, third-raters, whether run of the mill SOQhack like me or superannuated avant, we should get it in the neck. Our poems are already dead; we might as well follow.
Because what's the point. We're not going to write anything important now: I'm not going to, that's for sure. I'm through, I know it. Why hang on and keep going through the motions, which is all I'm doing now as anyone can see who reads the work I've posted here on this blog . . .
But there should be an easy out for old poets who've failed. A graceful goodbye, a painless dispensation. We should be helped to put ourselves away quietly. A "terminal dosage" should appear on our doorsill from some anonymous generous patron of the arts, to honor not our accomplishment but our sustained devotion to the bright cause.
We don't deserve a prize for our lifelong failed poetic attempts, but surely by those laborious efforts we have at least earned a charitable bottle of sleepingpills! The American Academy of Arts and Letters could spare an OD, don't you think?
Is it too much to ask the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets to help euthanize the exits of old failed poets like me? Can't they set up a discretionary fund, an in-house Hemlock Society, to assist and sponsor such acts of mercy? If they had hearts they would.
Seriously, with all the millions the Poetry Foundation has, Christian Wiman can't take a little of that money and establish an Euthanasia outreach program for extinctist poets like me?
Expunge us from the scene. Wipe us off the screen. We're (I'm) just taking up space and attention that would otherwise and should indeed be going to younger poets.
I'm just taking up space a younger poet should be filling. My job, my publisher(s), my readership (all 12 of them) should be going to that younger viable poet.
Can no one hear us old failed poets begging for surcease? "Put me out of my misery" we whimper. Have pity on us. Is there no kind Benefactor who will aid our quietus, who will press into our hand the nepenthean vial?
(The CIA issues suicide pills to its agents. . . the CIA used to fund under-the-table most USA artistic institutions. . . why can't someone from the myriad Academies of American Coldwar Culture call up their former or current conduits in the CIA and say, Hey we got all these old failed poets cluttering up the mis en scene, can't you lend us some "escape-capsules" to help us delete this mess. . . The Academy of American Poets could benefit AmerPo most by scoring cyanide cocktails for terminal poets like me. . . .)
The CEO of Home Depot just retired with a 210 million dollar payout. I wasn't the CEO of PoBiz Inc, I was only a minor clog in the company: I don't expect 210 million, but can't they at least give me a crummy bottle of barbituates, some goodbye-Bill pills to ease my demise?!
If everybody reading this would scrounge their medicine cabinet and vouchsafe me a tab or two. Or if only some wealthy patron of the arts would find it in their hearts to mercifully anonymously endow me with the Terminal Sedation that would balm and dose me to a close.*
All I'm asking is that the Academy of American Poets requisition a supply of suicide capsules from its bosses at the C.I.A., and issue one to me. And to other elderly poets who likewise seek a quick demise. The AAP should be ashamed and blamed that it does not offer this most humanitarian of services to the poetry community.
(In asserting my civil right to end my life when and as how I choose, I may be transgressing the social norms, which of course poets have never done!
It seems to me that poets especially should appreciate and support this right. I'm not excluding other vocations, sculptors for example could receive such benefits from the Sculptors League, and etcet for every field of endeavor, but I demand that the Poetic Institutions should aid poets particularly in this matter.
I demand their patronage at this acme of climacteric: they owe me (and needless to say, all other poets like me, we who have overpaid our lives into that metaphorical fund devotionally and are now due our parting pension) that much, they owe me this assisted demise.
This bequeath of death.
I can of course do it via the usual violent methods, but I feel that as a poet I deserve a painless deliverance granted by the Academy of American Poets or the Poetry Society of America or the Poetry Foundation or the Ingram Merrill Foundation or the heiratic Bollingen or similar munificent endowers of poetic endeavor—
Or is it hopeless to expect succor from such evil and corrupt bodies? Must poets form their own self-help groups, auto-euthanistic societies. If those malevolent cabals listed above will not help poets in this quest, must I turn to poets themselves and beg for their individual or collective mercies . . .
I can attend poetry readings with a sign around my neck asking for contributions of the right prescription strength . . . I can write pleas to famous poets begging them to scrape their medicine cabinets for a bolus of panacea, a perk of peace ...
Yes it would be useless of me to protest picket the offices of the Academy of American Poets et al, though I will continue to proclaim that they are in arrears to me, that they are obligated to accord me this compensatory quittance in return for my lifetime of service.)