Poetry readings have to be some of the saddest damned things ever, the gathering of the clansmen and clanladies, week after week, month after month, year after year, getting old together, reading on to tiny gatherings, still hoping their genius will be discovered, making tapes together, discs together, sweating for applause. They read basically to and for each other, they can't find a New York publisher or one within miles, but they read on and on in the poetry holes of America, never daunted, never considering the possibility that their talent might be thin, almost invisible. They read on and on before their mothers, their sisters, their husbands, their wives, their friends, the other poets and the handful of idiots who have wandered in from nowhere. I am ashamed for them, I am ashamed that they have to bolster each other, I am ashamed for their lisping egos, their lack of guts. If these are our creators, please, please give me something else: a drunken plumber at a bowling alley, a prelim boy in a four-rounder, a jock guiding his horse through along the rail, a bartender on last call, a waitress pouring me a coffee, a drunk sleeping in a deserted doorway, a dog munching a dry bone, an elephant's fart in a circus tent, a 6 p.m. freeway crush, the mailman telling a dirty joke— anything, anything but these.