The Varieties of Ignorant ExperienceLets talk about varieties of ignorance this month. We experts classify ignorance in accordance with the answers, in each specific instance, to such questions as, "Is it safe for me to ignore this bit of ignorance? For how long? Might ignoring it be advantageous?" Examples of the advantages of ignoring ignorance abound in poetry.
In fact ALL poems begin with a poet who doesn't know how to say something. And almost all end with a poet who still doesn't know how to say it, or even if "it" can be said. Only the difference is by then he/she has a poem. If everyone knew how to say any thing that came to mind there would be no poetry, only speech, and the world would be full of it, much like Congress.
For example, latch onto a feeling, like caring for someone. What color is it? How should I know? What does that even mean? It doesn't matter, I'll just write -
off the walls
of the shadows
of my time -
to the child -
Note that the question remains unanswered. I'll call it "Violet is the Color of Caring", and add it to my first chapbook.
On the other hand, there are forms of ignorance that should not be ignored.
"If the peasants have no bread, let them eat cake." - a suggestion from Marie Antoinette, shortly before having her head removed from her body by an outraged populace.
"Hygiene centers are unnecessary, they can use the bathrooms at Nordstrom's." - the gist of a suggestion from the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) last month. (A paraphrase).
Prompting this open letter to the DSA.
Congratulations! I had to reach back over two hundred years to find a comparable expression of monumental ignorance founded upon so much lackadaisical indifference. I hope you fully appreciate your good fortune in happening to oppress a people so profound ly uninterested in violence as the good homeless people of Seattle. They deserve from you at least a sincere "Thank You" for that, should a certain callous insensitivity make a full apology for your stupid remarks impossible. Was that last sentence hard to understand? Tough. Figure it out.
But I bear you no ill will. I understand that even ignorance as grave as yours is a disease not a crime. To show that I care, and to encourage your speedy recovery, I am presenting you with this humble poem.
To Sufferers of "Barely-Affective Disorder"
(Affective: displaying emotion, capable of being touched.)
Cheer up! Help is near!
The State relates to those who can't
Our Lawmakers assure
that your disorder
has a cure -
- that and more is their prescription
for making upstanding citizens
from those afflicted
with your condition
And Oh Yes -
along the way,
for your personal state.
You'll get GAU pay, ... and, AND
Nordstrom's is open each and every day!
(Or anyway until eight.)
More MisAdventures in Poetry
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