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DEAR ASPIRING POET by David Arthur WaltersDear Aspiring Poet,Much has originated from the brief intersection of our lives at the Internet cafe onKapahulu Boulevard on that sunny Sunday morning in Paradise some time ago. I remember youwell. You asked me if I were a writer. I answered affirmatively, and you revealed yourself as thesame, in a soft voice barely audible over the clickety-clacking of the surrounding keyboards.I glanced at the sleeping fellow with purple hair on the couch, and wondered what thehourly rack-rate might be for sleeping there. I turned to you and remarked on the "spiritual"quality of our present premises. You returned with, "Yes, and despite the technology too." Towhich I retorted, "The transmission of truth doesn't require a modem, and is apprehended bysleeping babies in the womb."You said you were not very sure of yourself as a writer, that your critics claim your proseis pretty bad politics. On the other hand, your poetry is evidently genuinely appreciated: youreceived an invitation to read it again at Barnes & Noble.I was quick to counsel you from my amateur's seat of authority. I asked if poetry iswhere your Heart is, because that is where you must go to be free. I said I'd received a poemfrom my father, of merely twelve lines, but it spoke volumes. Your inevitable question followed,"Is he published?" I answered: "Well, a few of his poems have appeared in print and have wonprizes, but that's beside the point of his sixty-five years of polishing them, then stuffing themback into the trunk for future perfecting. After all, to begin with, the artist must be free of marketdemands."My respect for trunked poetry did not seem to impress you with a prospect for yourimmediate success, so I switched the subject to prose as follows. You said, when I mentioned myfather's brevity, that you didn't like wordy poems. I emphatically declared Creation itself to bepoetry, and effused: "Good prose is a river singing the same song no matter where one stops byits banks to listen, a song of love that is worthy of infinite repetition."You were quiet then, but from the silence I thought I heard a plaintive, whispered cry,for a bridge to close the heart-rending gap of alienation. I dearly wanted to find the most directpath to communication.Perhaps my thoughts and feelings were not my own, for we have our language incommon. Yet you were professedly thinking of something else at the time. You said you thoughtyou were already old at thirty-something.Ah, there it is again, I mused, the overriding fear of time; thirty-something people maystill not trust themselves, and do not appreciated how long they still have to go. With that inmind, I wondered what more I could say on the spur of the moment. I presented to your ears awee monologue on how I write, a subject of small apparent interest to you, but I went onnevertheless.