Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Open Letter to Robert Frost



Dear Robert Frost,

Guess what? Nature’s first green is not gold. It’s fucking green.

Yeah, yeah, we all know how rich you got writing poems, but why does everything have to be about money with you? Gold this and gold that. It’s pretty much your only metaphor. You sound like one of those Glenn Beck, Tea-Partying apocalyptic infomercials urging people to invest their life savings in gold. I know you read at JFK’s inauguration so I’m guessing you lean on the liberal side. Unless you want to be interpreted as a right-wing libertarian nutjob, I suggest dropping the gold propaganda. Let nature’s first green be green, but not the Benjamin kind.

The problem with poetically mining for gold is that it reinforces the Genesis mentality of man ruling over the earth, sea, and sky. It slaps a price tag on our vital resources. Reservoirs are bottled in plastic. Forests are felled into low-cost furniture and shoddy lumber. Soil and streams are contaminated by the hundreds of millions of cows we herd for drive-thru eating convenience. Basically, nature has become nothing more than a planet-sized, retail warehouse megastore. Think smutty ménage a trois between Target, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot. It’s why Glenn Beck and his followers refuse to care about the environment. Nature is our bitch. She’s ours to pimp and ho. Who cares if the oceans are rising? Once the icecaps melt, we’ll simply eat more Filet-O-Fishes and less Big Macs. I hate people who think this way, but thanks to you, Mr. Frost, they’ve become the majority. A man can’t build a high enough fence in guarding himself from such neighbors.

Another, more general problem with evoking so much nature in your poetry is that nobody relates to it anymore. You’re not just beating a dead horse, you’re beating the empty bottle of Elmer’s Glue from which the dead horse was boiled down and mixed with lye. I was born in 1974. Nobody born then or thereafter spends much time outdoors. We grew up on couches watching television, couches made of the most synthetic materials. Nature is never gold to us. It’s plaid tweed that itches worse than poison oak. In my mind, nature is a freshly laid forest green shag rug in a den with walls painted avocado. That was the den of my youth, the environment that surrounded me while learning my ABCs from Big Bird and adverb usage from Schoolhouse Rock!

The only time me and my friends ventured outside was to masturbate in the woods with a stack of my dad’s Playboy mags. They published some pretty good limericks back in the day. Anyway, we’d crouch down in a thicket of some overgrown who-knows-what bush and have at ourselves. Kind of like the boys in your poem “Birches” who ride the stiffness out of saplings by bending and straddling them. I grew up in a working class beach community. We weren’t fancy enough for birch trees. We had black cherry and scrub pine, both of which have some seriously rough bark. As horny as a pubescent boy can get, you wouldn’t want one those between your legs, not unless wearing two pairs of snow pants, which is sometimes required here in New England, but I’m sure you know that being a Vermonter and all.

As a fellow New Englander, you should also know that nature’s first green if anything other than green is that of yellow forsythia, which I guess you could kind of squint and call gold so long as you’re not connoting monetary value. Just be cool, Mr. Frost. Times are still economically difficult for the rest of us and even if you are a member of the 1% don’t get all poetic and feverish about it. Leave the gold mining to young women with silicon lips and breasts. Until someday marrying their very own Hugh Heffner, they support themselves by posing naked for young boys hunched over laptops in dark rooms worldwide who seldom see light of day.

In the words of my generation’s greatest author—Stay green, Ponyboy.


Word,


Eugenio Volpe

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