Even though I write “poet” for my occupation of my 1040 form every year and occasionally even write an actual poem I find myself unable to read them.  Most I just don’t get and the only emotions they evoke are boredom, impatience and irritation.  If a poem consumes more than one page, there’s almost no chance that I will finish reading it so I seek to justify this.  I imagine myself arguing with some archetypal poet, who looks like a cross between Aaron Copeland and Billy Jean King, wearing a maroon beret and drinking dark wine from a kitchen glass with a pinky ring.  “What poem has ever changed anything?” I say.  “Plato and Aristotle, Lenin, Hitler and Mao, Newton and Einstein all changed the world with prose.”  The poet, of course, is rendered, much like tallow, speechlessly awestruck by my argument, but wait, he’ll argue, “what about Dylan? Didn’t Dylan change the world?”  “No he didn’t,” I reply, “but those were folk songs anyway.” “What about Shakespeare?” he might stammer and you can imagine how I might imagine the lisp and the beads of sweat on face and lip.  “No he didn’t and those were plays” I say.  “What about”  he might stutter, if he is petulant or masochistic(which he is) “t-th-the b-be-Beatles? Followed by sneering laughter from the rest of the grey, nondescript patrons in the dark, grimy tavern, only there, after all, to laugh at the poet and the Beatles.  Feeling slightly bored but not yet magnanimous I say “Effective writing is to poetry as great sex is to thinking about masturbation.” And perhaps I generously refill his glass.  “Maybe it would have changed the world if you had read it”, he says.