Here is the link to the May 25th, 2021 edition of the Virtual Poetorium celebrating the the second year anniversary of the Poetorium posted last night on the Poetorium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure: https://poetorium.home.blog/virtual-poetorium-may-25-2021/. As a special bonus, I am also including a link to a video of myself performing this month’s Poetorium group poem “A Multitude of Blessings”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE-HI_wHrLs
However, I have come to a decision not to repost the entire Virtual Poetorium here on this blog like I have done with previous editions in the past, because I feel that in its entirety, it would probably be too long a read and thus far too overwhelming for most readers. As a result, some really excellent poetry would probably be skipped, and that would be a real shame. So instead, I will just post the opening poem, which originally appeared in Street Signs: A Worcester Anthology complied by David Nader and published by BatCity Press over twenty years ago. I sincerely hope you like it….
Poet or Stripper
If I ever have a seventeen-year-old daughter,
(I admit the possibility is becoming quite remote)
and one morning, as we are chowing down together
on Pop Tarts and Coca Cola, she tells me
she can’t decide on a career,
wavering between poet and stripper,
I would have to advise her to choose the latter.
Now, not even considering economics,
and I heard a good stripper call pull down
a couple thousand a week, but as a poet,
she’d be lucky to see half that in her lifetime,
stripping is obviously the much more moral,
much less degrading profession.
All you have to expose is skin.
And the audiences are always so enthusiastic and responsive,
filled with respected members of the community,
like businessmen and politicians.
But as a poet, you got to perform
in sleazy run-down dives
reeking of amaretto and hazelnut
and cater to the whims of all those underground,
on the fringe, alternative lifestyle types.
You know who I mean:
and the like.
And they are usually so indifferent
to the poor slob on stage.
You practically have to beg them on hands and knees
for them to listen, to pay any attention at all,
and if they do, they are never satisfied.
They keep demanding
“Take it off!!
Take it all off…” –
the false facades,
the masks you wear in public.
And you oblige, teasingly peeling away
all the layers, one by one
until your soul is laid bare,
your essence revealed
and you’re left standing there
with your psyche hanging out
for a room full of strangers to gawk at.
Well, if you ask me,
you have to be an attention-craving fool
with no self-respect to want to do
a humiliating thing like that.
—Paul Szlosek (from Street Signs: A Worcester Anthology)