Poetry is like a tropical rain forest; it is nothing but sex and death.

The gender of poetry is feminine, and so is its voice and its moods.

The color of poetry is black, but also blue.

The nature of poetry is to be energized and dynamic.

Poetry enters the room quivering, and exits with great fanfare.

In between the beginning and the ending, poetry dances.

It does not matter if poetry’s dance is fast or slow, although it seems best as a tango.

Poetry stares at its audience, silently wondering how it got here.

The name of poetry is still being debated in backrooms around the world.

Naming was poetry’s first assignment.

Yet poetry usually fails to name itself.

Most people would not know a poem if even it bit them on their ass.

It is advised to wear protection when having sex with a poem.

The poem of its time has not arrived at the literary party yet.

I am a prose writer in love with poetry.

I have only known one or two poets, but I have known thousands of people who write poems.

A poem invariably lightens a room, even a gloomy poem, especially in a gloomy room.

The poem is never the straw that broke the camel’s back. A poem lightens your load.

To be a poem, words are needed. Beyond that, it is anyone’s guess what else is required.

You have no doubt heard of language poets. I am a poet searching for my language. I hope I never end this search because I don’t intend to find anything

A nonverbal poet is a dancer, not a poet. A visual poet is a painter, not a poet. A poet’s poet is an oxymoron or perhaps I simply mean a moron.

The baseball pitcher whose form intrigues us is another matter than poetry. This is true for basketball and football players too. The boxer who moves gracefully around a ring is not a poet. There is no such thing as a poet in sports unless, on the side, that athlete actually writes poetry. Otherwise she is not a poet; she is an athlete.

If a poet assassinated the 47 richest people in America, the so-called 1%, all of them billionaires many times over, the world would be a better place for poetry and everything else.

The death of poetry is its beginning, not its end. The birth of poetry is its end.

I am not a poet but I read a lot of poetry. I am a prose writer, i.e., I am a liar.

Poetry has the longest feet in the room.

If a poem breathes, run for your life.

If a poem talks to you, this is a sign of schizophrenia. Speak to a doctor.

If a poem goes out for a walk, let it go alone.

If you fall in love with a poem, don’t expect it to reciprocate.

If a poem makes you feel spiritual, consider it a blasphemous utterance.

Poetry cannot swim. Do not expect it to float if it falls overboard on a love boat.

Assignations are poetry’s way of giving you an assignment.

If your grandmother tries to talk you out of being a poet, listen to your grandmother.

If your mother tells you that poetry is for knuckleheads, believe her.

If a teacher tells you that you are a poet, question her authority.

Poets are liars, horse thieves, bandits, brigands, highway robbers, usual suspects, persons of interest, even murderers and arsonists. A good person being a poet is as rare as a good scone.

What is deeper, a poem or a well? A well.

How long is a poem? Several feet. What else is needed? Four boards and a passion.

Poetry rarely makes sense of anything. The better a poem the more likely it is as useless as an old shoe.

Poems start on the left, moving to the right, line by line, left to right. Is there not any other way to render a poem?

A great poem always starts on time.

Have you noticed that when poems break down, they are like old refrigerators? It is the compressor that has failed.

Poetry rides in with banners flowing in the wind. It is full of promises which rarely are kept. Poetry is full of broken promises. It is the nature of the beast. Poetry rides out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered. Beware the poem.

I have wasted most of my life contemplating, reading and writing poetry. But to what avail? To no avail.

Poetry is like an oven that has become overheated and cannot cool down. It is very good on a cold, damp night to warm the bones. Baking bread however in the poem is ill advised. Bread burns in such an oven.

When poetry walks naked into a room, no one is there to greet it. A fully dressed poem is one that poets, scholars, critics, and teachers wants to strip naked and vilify for its extravagances. You can’t win if you are a great poem.

Poetry is like a naked poet at the book signing.

A naked poem gyrating in the middle of the floor at the bookshop. Six people were there to witness this event. None of them were believed afterwards.

I once smoked a poem. But I did not inhale it.

I once drank a poem, but I got so drunk, I can’t remember anything.

I have had a lifelong affair with poetry. My affair with a poet is even longer. The affair with the poem ended many years ago.

What poem is it? It’s just gone four o’clock.

Where are we in this poem—New York or London? Actually we are on the third stanza, which is located about the middle of the page.

All poetry is political, especially poems that espouse no political agenda.

All poetry is lunatic. That is why poets are obsessed by the moon, although I once painted over a thousand paintings of the moon, and only a handful of poems about it. Go figure.

A love poem is rarely about love or poetry. Once in a lifetime a poet writes a love poem.

I am not a poet, I am a human bean. Plant me and I will grow to amazing, even dizzying, heights. If you plant a poem, it lay fallow for years. Sometimes, though, a word tree grows, and poets may pick things from its branches for their poems.

Poets rarely write poetry. Poetry is usually written by janitors and maids, though sometimes handmaidens of poetry come along.

The handmaidens of poetry often work in their spare time as hand models.

She was not a poet but a fashion model. It was believed that she looked like a poet. No poet who ever lived looked like a hand model or any other kind of model.

Poetry, like prose, often contradicts itself, thus proving that a poem need not be consistent in order to be a poem.

A friend once said to me: Poetry is calling it a day.

I would call such a poem something other than a day. Perhaps it reminds me more of the dawn.

Immortality is something that no poet need concern herself with. All poets, by their natures, are not only fallible and inconsistent, they are also mortal. Immortals do not write poetry.

The death of the poet is only her beginning.

Poems die every day, and even become extinct, never to be heard from again. I mourn these deaths daily. Do you?

The poet is like the artist working from a life model. If someone sits naked in a room with the poet, poetry comes of this journey the same way a drawing or painting emerges from a studio working under similar conditions.

The poem is like an apple pie cooking in a kitchen window. Its smell attracts the tramps.

All my life I have wanted to be two things: a poet and a tramp. I have succeeded at one of those enterprises quite successfully.

I have been exposed to poetry, and poetry has been exposed to me.

Poetry has thrown in the towel. That makes this particular poem a technical knockout.

Poetry is doing pushups in the other room. I hate when poetry does this.

When poetry lurches into my home, I am often sleeping. I get my best ideas for poetry when I am dreaming. Sometimes I wake up with a poem fully formed in my head. I simply get up and sit down to write it in a notebook. In some respects, I should not put my name to such poems. More accurately anonymous wrote these poems.

What is the difference between a poet and road-kill? There are skid marks in front of the road-kill.

If poetry hears me saying these things, it covers its ears. Thus I have no influence upon how poetry develops. It has a mind of its own.

I once read a poem that has stayed with me for more than fifty years. Who wrote this poem? What is it called? Try to guess.

If poetry is like riding a bicycle, remember to wear a helmet the next time you attempt to write a poem. Don’t get a wedgie on the bicycle seat either.

All poetry fails.

All poems are failures.

All poets are failures.

Before there are words, there is a rhythm in the head that we associate with poetry. This rhythm is filled with failure in its very structure. To fail is a poems ultimate strength.

That is why I love poetry; there is nothing in it for me.

The emptier the poem, the greater its pleasure. I long for a poem of pure and complete silence.

I long for a poem at the top of the tree, like a bird perched on a branch.

I long for a long drink of poetry in the middle of the night to allay the terror and the fear of existence.

Poetry reveals nothing, has no accomplices, expects nothing in return, challenges so little, has stakes that are so insignificant that it is a wonder that anyone cares about it.

A poet told me that she was pregnant with a poem. But then she had an abortion. Years later she gave birth to a memoir about this experience.

The poet is a prose writer too lazy to write.

Poets are people of few words. If a poet’s head is filled with words, she is probably really a prose writer.

The fewer the words in the head the likelier a poet is going to locate the truest rhythm of what the poem is.

Poetry quits in the middle of the game because of its dream concerning the wreckage of the future.

This is the neoteric age after all. In the neoteric age the art of poetry will be forsaken on a cross between two thieves.

Neoteric art resembles other arts in that its poems employ words. All other resemblance to the past is false.

Neoteric art is not coming to a movie theatre near you.

Neoteric art has no undercoat or underpinnings. But it does wear underpants. They are blue. They are pink. They are green. They are floral. They are stained. The stain is not likely to come out.

Academics already hate neoteric art and it has only just now started.

Poets need to assassinate academics after killing the 47 richest people in America. It is the only way that poetry is going to survive in the neoteric age.

The neoteric age is upon us. I still write in a notebook first, using a fountain pen. I don’t advise anyone else to follow this formula. I am not a practitioner of the neoteric. I am simply the messenger. Hands up, don’t shoot.

Neoteric art is yet another artistic bamboozlement.

Art is bullshit, and neoteric art is no different. Neoteric art is bullshit. What all the arts have in common is a long streak of bullshit.

I invented neoteric art right here in the early 21st century. No one knew what legs it would have. No one realized how erotic it all was. No one quite knew what it was at first—until it was too late.

Neoteric art breaks from the past after a long embrace—the kiss of death.

Neoteric equals 21st century and beyond, the new millennium, its long breath.

The poem quivers in a corner in its stark meat-lust beauty.

Poetry calls out across the neoteric frontier. If no one hears it, it really does not matter.

The neoteric age is anarchist in its ideals; filled with a sense of social justice; is spiritual by nature; omnisexual; is both a community and an isolated utterance.

The intercourse of the neoteric: sex is another way to put it.

The neoteric boat is like the neoteric bicycle. It may appear like the old boat or bicycle. But there all similarities dissolve. The difference between the modern (or even the postmodern) and the neoteric is a sea change, like day and night, chalk and cheese.

Like love, a poem appears, poetry appears, often unexpectedly, often without any warning.

Poetry is like a kite floating in the sky high above our heads, coasting on the wind.

Poetry is like sunlight and rain, like dish soap and vitamins, like longeurs and lozenges.

Poetry is—neoteric at its root.

Neoteric poetry is a contradiction, a counter-indication, a valence. It is a benediction.

Neoteric poetry resembles nothing so much as a mountain lion loose in a downtown area.

Neoteric poetry scans.

Neoteric poetry coheres.

Neoteric art blossoms like a blister on the lower lip.

Neoteric art reads like a poem but looks like prose. It reads like prose despite its meter.

In the neoteric age, the meteoric rise of meter was not anticipated.

The meteoric rise of meter is like the gold rush. Prospectors appear on every street corner. Despite the gold in their pockets, they have no teeth. Despite their prosperity, they are tramps.

To be neoteric is to be contemporary but in a farsighted way.

Expect resistance to the neoteric. All such movements meet old-guard resistance.

The neoteric age is an ideal, a paradigm, it is not the everyday but rather the extraordinary found almost every day.

The paradigm of the future will be neoteric.


  1. Dear Dr. Mick: This is brilliant! Some of these strophes made me bark out laughing, others tucked me deep into a warm and promising silence. I will return to this many, many times. And I will share it with my students. Bravo! And thank you!

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