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Will You PLEASE Just Shut Up!

1. None of you think you’re the target of this poem. Hopefullyyou’re right.

2. If you’re sitting in front of or behind the metal gratesticking out of the wall halfway back, you aren’t necessarily condemnedhere; it’s just that most of the time the bastard culprits are sittingthere. Don’t ask why.

3. I don’t care what Susan’s boyfriend did with Heleneat the party last night. I’d like to, you know? But I don’t—not at all.This doesn’t make me a prick, though, because I’d love to constantly existin such a cloud of universal non-discriminatory empathy that you, the personyou’re talking to, Susan, the boyfriend, and Helene all matter greatly.But can you see what’s going on here? Can you? OK, because I don’t thinkyou can. So let me tell you. Idiots.

4. I’m listening to a word here. A word strung togetherwith another. Then another. Do you see? No. Clearly you still don’t.

5. The words are arranged, accumulating, blended withcaesuras [caesurae?] and sometimes added to notes, tones and guitar chordsto make other kinds of things. These things we call “songs.” The firstthings? We just call them “poems” [“just,” hmph!]. No, don’t try to defendyourself here. Just shut up for once, for ONCE and listen. Yes, good. Thanks.Next:

6. I know your life is important and Helene’s being usedand Susan’s going to be real pissed, but where do you think you are? Letme digress, you ungrateful wart. Once, I visited a friend at U-Dub. Wewent to see a movie at a mall in some ghastly Seattle suburb. It mighthave been the first Men in Black movie, but you don’t care, right? [Nowyou know how I feel!] Anyway, at this movie, all sorts of people, all throughout,kept talking back to the screen, as if Tommy Lee Jones gave a shit aboutthem and their opinions, reactions and half-baked advice. I must say, Ididn’t enJOY that film [note the ironic stress on “joy”?]. More recently,I bought the video and I enjoy it in the comfort of my own home, in silence.Yes! Ah! I see a dim watted light bulb has just begun to glow above yourthick, self-absorbed wannabe-poem/culture-loving head. Do you get it yet?

7. Ah, OK. So you remember those times people turned aroundto you and looked for a few seconds? Yesssss…they wanted you to shut thefuck up!

8. Sunday, July 21, 2002, 9:45pm-ish. Remember that night?It might not have been you specific people, but it matters little. T.Paul,in between open-mic’ers, says, “Can you hear me in the back alright?” Whetherit was you or not, the people didn’t get the hint. How sad for them—andus.

9. Because there’s this flowwwww, see? It starts withwhoever’s at the mic, releasing their soul so it emanates out from thestage and begins to WASH over us all, transporting us from being mere audiencemembers to being participants in art. Actual art. Yeah. And the soul inthe poem or song is a lazy, grinning back-country hiker paddling a birchbark canoe along a placid lake of us. We’re the lake see?! We receive thepaddle and guide the canoe willingly, cooperatively, interdependently throughus. But you, in your self-worshipping, inconsiderate obliviousness, you’reon about Susan’s emotionally insecure, hence too much of a flirt boyfriend.And what are you? You’re rapids. Whitewater. Hell’s Gate. Niagara fuckingFalls. Unwelcome, see?

10. So hey, will you PLEASE just shut up. Thanks.

Copyright 2002, Stephen Buckley

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