‘Who drives fat oxen should himself be fat’,
So Johnson said, and Johnson stopped at that.
But now, see poets like fat oxen led
By Rexrouac — fat only in the head.
See Hipster crouching in a smoke-filled room;
His typewriter is tapping in the gloom.
Like treadless tyres dumped on a pond to rot,
His hollow thoughts have swirled and gone to pot.
Now drunken lines that zigzag black and white
Trail downward, till their meaning’s out of sight.
A turntable and record, spinning yet,
Relay sweet ‘therapy’ of a jazz quartet:
Trumpet, piano, alto, and guitar,
Their counterpoint as loud as civil war.
He quotes John Webster (whom he cannot read),
His soul ‘a ship in a black storm’ indeed:
Art’s compass gone, and quandrant intellect,
It steers into a maelstrom and is wrecked.
See, drowned in tar-bright tides, each bubbling boast,
By Eastern rivers or the Western coast;
Or his ballooning ego hurled up high,
To burst in lower reaches of the sky —
A stench of urinals released to meet
Commuters racing briefly through the street.
Though Hipster and his like, achieving fame,
May go to Hollywood (their secret aim) ,
They leave their sickness in the world of letters,
And Dulness is as certain of their betters:
Because they smile on Hipster and his crew,
She knows that they are hers (in secret) too.