I admire people who can make any kind of income from poetry much less live off the proceeds. As a short story writer I am constantly told that my art is dead; if that is so, then poetry is mummified. Don’t get me wrong, I like poetry but the markets that still exist for the genre are usually non-paying and getting a book of poetry published might be impossible in today’s world.
This all being said, I have had some poetry published and one time I actually was paid for my efforts. Once again I was perusing the contest categories of our county fair when I noticed that they wanted entries for funny poetry. Well I am funny and I am a writer so I thought I would give it whack. The result was a poem (hey, it rhymes) called False Profits: A Commercial Break for Reverend Bob which came in first place in he contest so I got a Blue Ribbon and $5.00. Pretty cool. I will post the poem below so you can judge for yourself if it was worthy.
Anyway, just after my victory, a poetry movement swept through Ventura with many venues setting up open mikes so people could read their works. Well, I am a real ham and I like getting up in front of a crowd, so I started writing some pieces that I could read in a dramatic way. If it is poetry, I can’t say but the first one I wrote and read is called A Dissertation On Mr. Dudley: Man In The Mirror and it was warmly received though it has never been independently published. The next one I wrote was an “answer” to this poem and it is called Mirror Image: Metamorphosis; I would often read them together. Again, they were warmly received but never published independently. With these three poems under my belt, I had another idea: Why not write a “poetic play” and so I did. It is called The Earthling and it is available on Amazon.com. It is a three part play telling the story of a young man whose father committed suicide at the height of the Flower Power movement while leaving behind a wife and son to deal with life in the aftermath of his death.
I have read most of the pieces of this work aloud at one time or another and the one that has received the most praise, and tears, is one I call A Letter to My Dad that depicts this young man reading a letter to his father who knows is dead. I would sometimes sit at a table with pen and paper in hand for a dramatic effect.
Our local poetry craze lasted for about a year and then faded away, my poetry career did the same, much to the relief of real poets, I am sure.
Here is the work that started it all. If you like it, for all of .99 cents you can have the entire play on your Kindle:
FALSE PROFITS: A COMMERCIAL BREAK FOR REVEREND BOB
Do you say you want to spread redemption?
Do you say you want to be financially free?
Well if this is really true, my friends
Then learn how to preach on TV.
Do you say you want to be in good with the Lord?
But then you also want to have a little fun?
Then get a ministry on TV
And let people turn you on!
Yes, let me be the answer to all your prayers.
For I am one great gospel teacher.
Yet I still can sin like the devil
Just because I am a video preacher!
Oh yes, I wear five-hundred dollar suits,
And no sir, I do not drive a Ford,
It seems the Almighty wants me in a Mercedes-Benz
And for that I praise the Lord!
Now you to can do as I do,
You to can cash in on people’s trust
But hurry and get on the band wagon
Before this whole scheme goes bust!
Some people will think you are a fake,
And a few will even think you are funny,
But then you are not trying to be popular,
Since all you want is their money!
So listen to the things I say brother,
Believe me when I tell you this scam works.
And all that’s needed is a smiling face
And about 50,000 jerks!
If you just hand over your cash
I will send you your video preacher kit.
Then you too can find religion
While making a few bucks off of it!
Write down the address you see on the screen,
And send me your check or your cold cash
I will tell you how to raise a one million dollars
By saying that God is threatening something rash.
Oh yes, I have a sexy maid, and
I have a house in Beverly Hills.
So the sooner you get off the couch and write to me
The sooner some one else will be paying your bills!
The Earthling: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AZYX82S