Ann Arbor Review
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
WRITING LIFE SESTINA
When rejections pile up, and I begin to hate my writing,
sometimes I think I'd be better off selling weed.
With my color and accent, I'm a natural.
I've already got a corner on the market.
All I'd have to do is screw up my face, grow dreads,
and buy a gun, so I'd look like a real Jamaican.
But what does it mean to be a real Jamaican?
I know for sure it doesn't involve writing.
I'd make more money as a Rastitute or rent-a dread,
selling my body to Canadian tourists and smoking weed.
It would be a much better way to get on TV or market
myself. I'd get up every morning singing, "There's a natural
mystic blowin' through the air...such a natural
mystic." I'd become a famous reggae star with a huge Jamaican
fan club. I could even sing, "Carry me ganja go a Linstead Market."
My audience would love it! Then, I could go back to writing
every day and use my advance to buy some good weed,
and take a picture for the back cover of the book with dreads
(or fake ones) covering my face with my all dread
football team: "Rasta All Stars." And we'd eat only natural
foods, and when we'd get hungry, smoke like a ton of weed.
We'd make red, green and gold t-shirts--the real Jamaican
colors. I could make more money selling t-shirts than writing,
and wasting my money every year on Poet's Market.
Who am I kidding trying to sell this stuff? The only way to market
Caribbean poetry is to write about how the times are dread,
and how the white man makes life hard. Nobody publishes writing
that sounds like Walcott, except if it's really Walcott, who's a natural
poet, but he's from St. Lucia--though he's been labeled a Jamaican
because he's a known ladies' man, but he's never smoked weed.
Or has he? How could he have written Omeros without smoking weed?
Walcott could do commercials for ganja--a whole new way to market
sensi as a cure for writer's block: picture yourself on a Jamaican
beach with a big spliff in your mouth, girls stroking your dreads
and all the while you are rocking in a hammock to the natural
"Sounds from the Island"--the formula to improve anyone's writing!
But it won't work. It's easier to grow dreads and look natural,
than trying to market poetry by a Jamaican baldhead.
But just to hedge my bets, I'm sticking to writing and smoking weed.
Geoffrey Philp, Miami
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