Allow me to introduce myself: I am the resident of Garland, NE that you badgered until I accepted your letter to Mr. Ted Kooser. Upon talking to Ted about you, he and I both felt it best that he didn’t respond to your inquiry. I, however, have decided to give my two cents. I figured I’d use the return name of Ted Kooser (with my address in place of his) on the envelope, in order to ensure that you’d open this.
Your letter intrigued me. It seems we have very different ideas when it comes to poetry. I write poetry myself, and while I am not nearly as talented as the famed Mr. Kooser, I do know I am more talented than you. Ted has taught me a lot about poetry, and while I appreciate a style more like his, I do respect and admire poets of all different styles, and wish the best of luck to anyone with a passion for writing, regardless of how they write. I know Ted feels the same.
Normally, I do not get involved with the correspondences of Mr. Kooser, but yours is a special case. What makes it special? Well, aside from your loitering around the neighborhood in search of him, it is the sheer terrible nature of your writing. You seem to employ some kind of different-for-the-sake-of-being-different style: with your forward slashes and periods instead of spaces. I bet if I asked you, you’d tell me that poetry is an animal that has been tamed for too long and that you are attempting to bring back the true essence of the beast, or some bullshit. The world has encountered a million writers like you.
Somehow, it seems that people wish to jump aboard an art form so badly that instead of saving up to buy a ticket to get on the train, they just take a shit near the conductor and call it a ticket. Your poem is that piece of shit.
I’m sure that all your poems are like the one you sent Ted, as I know you’re the same lunatic I heard ruined that Open Mic in Salt Lake City. Screaming about some dead guinea pig you brought to the reading: this doesn’t exactly shout mental stability. And I’m sure if I met you a few years ago, you would have claimed to be striving towards becoming the world’s best accountant, and meandering about Garland looking for our best one, bringing with you ledgers and numbers or something.
To you, poetry is a phase. It’s just an area that you can exploit in order to be respected which, for some reason, you crave. Well, you’re not getting any respect from me. As a friend and neighbor of Mr. Kooser, I’ve met crazies like you in the past. In fact, one time, this woman walked over to Ted and I in a coffee shop and claimed to be doing something called “Night Terror Art.” I felt like stabbing her in the eye with the unsharpened pencil I had in my pocket. She claimed that the only thing holding her back was that her name (I’ve forgotten since, thank God) was not artistic enough. Disgusted, I threw my receipt at her for the two bottles of jam I had purchased for nine dollars, and said “here’s some inspiration, you talentless bag of ass” before walking out.
Thinking about the fact that you came that close to my beloved home actually just gave me a chill. Not even because a clearly disturbed individual apparently hiding on his person a decomposed guinea pig was talking to me, but because I had to bring in your lousy fucking poem to my desk in order to write you back. I have since burned your poem outside, so that no fumes enter my house.
I read in that newspaper article about your Salt Lake City debauchery that you were headed towards California to become a famous poet. If you become rich and famous, hopefully I’ll be unable to process any new memories. That way, I can remember the times before they catapulted lunatics into fame for flinging the shit they call art onto the faces of everyone asinine enough to glance at it.
I don’t care if you’re in California, back at this address in New York, or at the top of a soon-to-erupt volcano and can only remember my address: NEVER WRITE BACK.