why i write bad poetry

I got this letter today

okay, I’ll level with you

I’ve received many letters

over the years

more than 27

English professors

saying my poetry is

just plain bad

cause I don’t rhyme

and don’t know how

a poem is constructed

I write back

and say I don’t like

my poetry either

I tell them

I never had a poetry class

I was taught by

friendly bums

with teeth missing

sitting on the benches

in front of my local

Louisville Public Library

these bums shared

poems they wrote on

torn paper sacks

saved from buying liquor

They shared their secrets

how they wrote notes & poems

as we shared liquor

& passed the bottle

back and forth for sips

we laughed at their poems

they taught me all

I needed to know

these 27 (or more) Professors wrote

basically the same words:


(the professors even write

“no wonder we can’t get

students to enjoy poetry”)

I tell them

I can’t stop myself

It’s just what I do

I write bad stuff

like car mechanics

and plumbers

who say they fixed

your problem

charge you money



and you discover

nothing was ever

fixed for more

than one day

I ain’t that bad

I refund money

if a reader

does not like

any book I write

now that I’m thinking

about it

I’ve never

had a poetry book


Published by Jim Wortham

As a teen, wanted to live from writing poetry. Wrote several books, selling nationally. Hung out with readers throughout the United States. My writing has been on back burner. Now dusting off my desk and have my pen in hand. Hope you enjoy some of what I write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: