Whatcha doin’?

The less you know about it, kid, the better.

Aw, c’mon mister.

I’m writing poetry.

Hey, I’ve heard of that. ...Are you a fruit or something?

Not exactly. I’m here to bring down the State.

What do you mean, like the State of California?

The State of California will have to recognize me as its new supreme ruler.

Wow, what’s that, like Shakespeare or something?


Hey, what are you doing?

Writing a poem.

Why? No one reads poetry anymore.

This poem means to change all that.

How does that work if no one will even read it?

When I am the Ayatollah of Burbank, they’ll have to do more than just read it.


Hey, what’s going on?

Just a moment.

What are you working on there?

What does it look like I’m working on? Will you just—?

OK, take it easy buddy. I can see you’re working on a recipe.

(Putting down pencil and glaring at interlocutor): It is a recipe of sorts. It’s a recipe for the overthrow of the State. In the form of a poem.

I don’t want to eat that.


Hey, what are you up to there?

Oh, just polishing up this poem I’ve been working on.

Oh, wow! I’d love to read it, when it’s ready.

It’s ready right now.

(The next day)

So what did you think?

Well. Wow, I mean, so interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it. I don’t know if I got everything. I have to admit, I didn’t finish ... I fell asleep with it in my hands. But the crazy thing is, I had this dream, this amazing dream where I was walking through this pulsing astral kaleidoscope, and there was this music—and it was perfectly clear to me, like a revelation, like a teaching I was carrying, that we—people, I mean all of us—need to create a new language, a new living language to subvert the State—to delegitimize its authority.


Yeah. I don’t know where that came from.

Or maybe not to subvert the State. Maybe more like: to convince the State to come up with some money to help publish my book.

Originally Published: April 16th, 2014

Julien Poirier grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and was educated at Columbia University. He is the author of the full-length poetry collections Out of Print (City Lights, 2016), Way Too West (Bootstrap Press, 2015), and El Golpe Chileño (2010); several chapbooks, including Flying Over the Fence with Amadou...