His email said: I donít like poetry, but I like your poetry.
I replied: Thatís because I donít type poetry.
He asked: What do you type then?
I told him: I type dirty dreams that Iíve lived out. I type paranoid fantasies that Iíve forced into reality. I write busted condoms and broken noses, I write the long dead past into life and fill the pages with zombies. I donít think it can be called poetry.
He answered with: Youíre right! I can definitely make out the corpses and the pregnancy tests. And yes, you are paranoid. And even though I find myself hoping that you donít actually live this way, another part of me knows that you do. I mean, youíve got to be one hell of a good liar to pull it off if you didnít. And I can also understand why you donít think your writing could be called poetry, but that leads me to ask, what would you call it then?
I wrote back: I donít know what to call it. I donít call it anything. When I type itís sessions with a shrink. Iím lying on a couch spilling guts, Iím exorcizing demons, releasing repressed memories, coming to terms with my great I, like I said, I donít know. Itís just something I have to do. By the way, howíd you start reading me?
He told me: My girlfriend reads you over at the Exposeíd website. She sent me a link saying I should check it out and I did. Then I started typing your name into Google and found some more of your stuff. Iím even thinking about buying one of your books. Which one would you recommend?
I made a recommendation: All of them. Buy 2 or 3 copies of each and help support me. Itíll be the greatest act of charity youíll ever pull off. Also, what does your girlfriend look like? Is she cute? And if so, is she kinky? Do you think you could send me a few pictures of her?
His email came back 2 minutes later: Why would you even bring something like that up? I thought you were cool at first, but now I see youíre just a dick. I hope nobody buys your books. Go fuck yourself!
I stayed the course: Letís not get off the subject. Buy the books and send me a few pictures. What can it hurt? Youíll get something good to read, and your girlfriend will feel sexy. Women like to know that theyíre lusted after, especially by great artists like myself- I promise, just tell her I asked and youíll make her day.
He replied: Iíve blocked your email address so donít even bother anymore. And once again, go fuck yourself! Your writing sucks!
Well, maybe I had just lost a fan, but it didnít matter much. I was a great artist, (sure Johnny boy, you just keep telling yourself that) and a new fan would pop up to take his place. Meanwhile, I thought about his girlfriend. He would tell her what I had said, and sheíd get that rush of blood, and sure enough, sheíd make plans to take a few pictures of herself when he wasnít around. Then sheíd email them to me one day, Iíd look at them, and then type up the story of how they came into my possession. Then Iíd get the story published- definitely. Heíd read it and confront her. After a while sheíd admit it, and the war would start. Heíd call her a whore and a tramp. Sheíd call him a shiftless loser. He would swear revenge on me, and maybe even smack her around a little before heading out to drink with one of his hunting buddies- fantastic. And then one day in the future Iíd feel the edge of a bowie knife pressed against my back while riding the subway, Iíd turn around, see some grinning loon, and heíd say ĎThe greatest act of charity, huh?í