John Tustin

Some Poets Are Like Porn Stars

Some poets are like porn stars
And that starts with the ease in earning the title.
Just fucking on film makes an actor a star;
Just breaking up lines makes a writer a poet –
At least to the disinterested general public.

They come out of nowhere to appear in every pop-up journal around
For a year or three or four. 
They hustle here and there along internet streets
But without a suitcase pimp to push them along.
They go it alone.
They collect credits like checks from storefront modeling agencies,
Holding on as long as they can
Until the bloom is completely off the rose
And one acceptance gets lost in another
In a great swirl of blurring days
And just as quickly they are gone because the payoffs became too small –
Their poems now hidden away at the back of the internet
Like stag film reels in a hatbox in Uncle Phil’s closet.

Then there are the few who remain for decades –
The Nina Hartleys, if you will; 
Knocking on door after door with endless single pages pumping out.
Never getting to the big show, the legitimate acting jobs
But undaunted by that. 

The need, just need to appear somewhere.
Anywhere. Everywhere.
The true exhibitionists.

The rest just stop writing
Or go back to writing behind closed doors,
Showing it to one person or two
Or maybe even no one –
Like masturbating with the lights on
But remembering those salad days
When they thought not only should people see all their naked parts
And how they work,
Those people should even have to pay for the privilege.

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