If I were invited to speak as a guest of a talk or variety show, I would not prefer merely to say yes, I am a poet, and now I will read a couple poems. I would rather be asked interesting questions, such as Why, given the difficulty, Why, given the unlikelihood of anything happening because of words you write, do you bother? Do you seek notoriety? Are you trying to prove something? Are you insane? How does it feel to be our token poet? Do you think poetry has anything to do with the lives we lead? These are good questions, but I answer such questions in my spare time. Why not also ask me questions there are no easy answers for, such as why are we so influenced by appearances? Why do even good people use their virtues to excuse their sins? Why haven’t we realized sports, television, and drugs are religions? Why do Americans think they deserve to live so much better than the rest of the world? How much longer can we continue our hypocritical foreign policies? Why do people such as ourselves think we can make better decisions than the politicians we elect? Why don’t we always do what we know is best for us? Why would you refuse to kill the animals you eat? Why do teenagers forget to breathe? Why do you avert your eyes from the person on the street who needs help? Why, when you stop your car in time to avoid running over a boy on a bicycle, are you angry instead of thankful? If I were asked such questions, I would lean over to the host and say anything I wanted.
2 December 1988