“Everybody knows that you’re just an asshole”

JT asked if I was reading at the Beat poetry reading. I shook my head. “No,” I said. “Why not?” “It wasn’t my group. I wasn’t invited.”

Last year, I made a snide remark about an anti-bullying poetry reading that excluded prose readers. I compared it to sitting at the loser’s table in the proverbial high school cafeteria. The plagiarist called me on an ironic statement—a poet who doesn’t understand irony? That’s ironic, right?—even went as far as bullying me into apology. That’s right. He bullied me until I apologized to him. As if a mariachi who humiliates someone online has any right to host an anti-bullying poetry reading. That’s not irony. It’s messed up.

But it’s no secret that I’ve been on the outside of his circle jerk of friends. I never conformed to his ideologies, dogma, and never gave him a chance to use me as a stepping stone to the top. Every idea he’s had belongs to someone else. And credit is never given. When I met him at FESTIBA all those years ago, when I bought his self-published book, and shook his hand there was something about him I didn’t trust. He invited me to partake in “his” festival of poetry. An idea that he stole from a friend of mine. There was a charge. I never paid to read before.

“A book is being published,” he answered. A book indeed. A collection of works by those who partake, reminiscent of the bullshit from my teenage years.

I danced around the truth when JT asked me why. “I went into hiding,” I replied. “After which, no one wanted to take me back.”

The truth is, the only dick I’m willing to jerk off is mine.

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