How Poets Make Money
While grave-digging, after rainy weather
Always keep a long hollow pipe next to you.
Another poet told me never to forget this.
It will help you to breathe until you're dug out.
When working split-shifts as a kitchen porter
If the waitresses or the chefs put knives
Or wine glasses in your washing-up water
Shout at them. Get stitches and a tetanus jab.
Don't write for academics or other writers
Write for people who don't much like poems.
If they want entertainment, entertain them.
Later, much later, they may buy you lager.
Forget bursaries, prizes or writers' refuges
You need a shed with a bucket, next to a pub
When your mind is empty and the bucket is full
Down tools, borrow money and go to the pub.
While loop-brained or vacant in the public bar
Eyes bloodshot like central London road maps
Never tell people that you have been working
In the real world; writin' pomes int proper work.
Many publishers are sympathetic to poets.
No, I'm sorry. I don't know why I wrote that.
If you want more than 7 to 10 per cent,
Turn over a petrol station and publish yourself.
A number of organisations exist to help poets.
Their administrators are paid more than you.
Among many ways in which to approach them,
"Where's me dinner, slut?" is as good as any.
Public readings, schools-work and commissions,
Can all help to boost your income. And so can
Upholstering sedan chairs or sewing epaulettes.
And melancholy is a dog that rounds up melons.
Don't be proud. Take every job that comes in.
Ballads and rhymes are cages to be brilliant in.
The poet who never sold out never got asked.
Ever tried feeding your kids on critical respect?