If 27 years of life have taught me anything, it’s that most poetry sucks. Not all of it; just a vast majority. It’s a way of bending the rules of the English language in a way that obscures meaning, then pretending that makes you deep for some reason.
No, you do NOT get artistic props for the literary equivalent of scribbling all over the walls in crayon. I went to an evening of slam poetry the other night because I thought it was going to be the good kind of poetry. Turned out that the whole night was themed around air conditioning, so everyone was going all out to be unique. One guy half rapped for 20 minutes on the subject of air conditioning services in Kew, because one time he got air con installed and just thought he’d turn that into the unholy combination of rap and filibuster. It started off with him waking up, having breakfast, going to work and getting into a row with Tina over who got the last parking space. By about the eleventh minute he was doing research online about air conditioning installation, and by the twenty minute mark the air conditioning installation was getting done. I might have blacked out a couple of times during that whole thing, perhaps a defensive method by my brain to stop me from being bored to death.
One girl did stand out, although I think the fact that she had a very distinctive hairstyle and a very nice voice helped. She composed and performed a piece linking global warming to air conditioning, quite compelling and well presented without being negative or insulting to the air conditioning industry. She could read audiobooks, her voice was that good.
The night was rounded off by a ‘special presentation’, where the two hosts got up on stage and had a slam poetry debate about whether the Elsternwick air conditioning or Mentone air conditioning was the superior form. By that time I was begging for someone to strike me in the face with a shovel.
Air conditioning is actually a better art form than poetry, I’ve just decided.