Financial counseling

There’s no money in poetry………

What to say except that when you contemplate the best thing to do with the one life you have, as it were. That there’s no money in it.

There’s no money in anything good. Anything worthy of time.

I go around telling this to anyone who looks hopeful. “Know that your hope is a poor person.” Most people take this the wrong way.

Think I mean “Your hope is poor,” bereft, even. No, actually I mean

Your hope is a poor person. Your hope is a person. Who is poor. Your hope has no money. Does not break even in this economy.

You have to do what you can to nourish it or you’re nobody. Because there’s no money in it, you have to give it whatever else you’ve got. You might look around a little, alarmed, and think, what could that be?

Everyone thinks that, does not make you special to think that. Most people approach life at a loss. Even rich people, plenty of rich people look around and think, but what do I have?

There’s no reason in this, no wisdom to take from it, nothing I can or will say to make you empathize with this thinking no matter who expresses it because actually it does matter who expresses, how much money they have, net.

Matters if your parents are rich, if they don’t have debt, matters if they have a second home, matters if you partner is rich, matters if they’re poor and you’re rich and they’re still poor. Matters, even more than poetry matters, but they won’t tell you that on the admissions webinar.

There are people who wage success on poetry, not just Rupi Kaur or Billy Collins (bad poets if it has to be said, though for different reasons, it has to be said) but, for example, whoever has tenure and is worshipped by the students, that poet waged success. I’m not saying this is good or bad, but in this economy, it is mostly bad.

They say don’t trust people who don’t read but I say don’t trust people who read bad books. That’s worse than not reading.

Not worse for the person who reads bad books but for everyone under their influence.

This is the thing, it is easy to pity people without taste or intelligence but often it is the people who think these people have taste and intelligence who would benefit more from pity. A loving condescension.

Can condescension be loving? Yes, parents mastered this.

Parents don’t want their children to be poets because their children will certainly be broke if they’re any good and certainly parents want their kids to be good, so better not to be a poet.

They never say this outright, it’s supposed to come through.

Plenty of parents themselves are or were broke or poor or some teetering combination of both or all and in fact it depends on who you are, what neighborhood you come from, whether your ancestors were slaves or slaughtered somewhere, depending on those things your parents may or may not secretly want you to be a poet.

You spend your life hoping they’ll tell you which it is.