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Little Man, Who Made You?

Bring it on little man, he said. I have the name, the fame, and the credentials. I will cut your throat and that hand that refuses to feed me. Criticize a man of my stature, surely you must be mad? Let's see those little poems of yours. I'll wipe my ass with your words. You can't take on me. I'm an Ivy League instructor. Where did you go to school? Community college, state college, not even a master's degree? Step off before I put your name on every list. You'll never be published in this town. Try pulling a Whitman? The man is dead and it's a good thing for us. There's no one to challenge us. We have the word hostage for more than a century. Juvenal, he's dead and gone of course. He can't touch us from that grave. We have tenure. We read our work in front of Senators, Congressmen, and the President.

I never saw you in one of my classes or any of my workshops, he said. So you read my book at the local library and thought it was weak. Little man, I make more money than you'll ever see in your life. All I have to do is put my name on a piece of paper, spew out a few lines, and yes, I am published again. Don't bring your honesty and simpleton language here. Where's your MFA degree? Do you even know how much time and effort in workshops and conferences you have to undertake before one of us can recognize you? Send your little poems to the local newspaper. Don't bring your work around here. The small zines are trying to emulate us. There are some of us that also have a hand in there and can also make sure you're left out.

So you're still not afraid, he said. You think you'll hang upon our backs like a fat, slimy albatross? You think you have the balls to take on the academe. We are in all the big bookstores. The media loves us. You little piece of nothing: you can never get rid of us. Our fraternity is large, powerful, and selective. We frown upon the hand that won't keep our bellies full. We look down on those critical of our success. It is all jealousy. You bastards want what we have and don't try to deny it. Why else won't you embrace our achievements? How can we be wrong? We are the teachers; the ones with the big desks, and some of us have been blessed by the muse to spread its message. We are made by the Highest Being. Little man, who made you?

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