On Poems That Have Nothing to Do With Their Titles

We are uncouth. As is most of America. We are not highly literate; we are middlebrow and low-minded. But still. Do not try to trick us into reading shitty poems with an enticing title. We do not like that.

Normally we would never read a poem published on Slate on general principle, but there was one today called "Goodbye Billyburg," and as an internet troll with a professional interest in making fun of Billyburg for fun and profit, I figured, "Perhaps there is some good raw material here."

No.

8am. The dark descent. Gilt pre-war
tile-work now sub-seagreen grime, the biotic
discharge (kudzic? cosmic?) of a "tragic" lack
of change; no glib rehab, no stolid renova-
tion; the low steam wheedle of a played-out

radiator; the faint first hypodermic
rustle from Our Junky Squatter in the kohl-black
aether of the stair above. Blah vita nuova,
Monday, March, arctic air etching a braided route
up while I-small wave of warmth down its bruise-

Is the Junky Squatter in Williamsburg? I guess this guy is in an apartment in Williamsburg? Is it getting to the Williamsburg part soon?

blue arm-ease past canker, past cataract,
past the felt-sewn & three-legged husk of a
deep-6'd card table: little lean-to, riddled redoubt.
What now? Well, work. Though one threadless screw
shakes loose
to ping last night's post-Freudian rehash-er,

earthquake? Ur-crisis. Ur-neurosis. One helluva
(& less than objective) correlative. What now,
dreamer? The warm stalk-sweet smell from the hooded crews
who keep us failsafe for commerce; men of stature,
or near enough, their gauzy, smoke-strung copse

There was a party last night? Is this the earthquake from a couple weeks ago? Did he feel the earthquake while he was in his apartment in Williamsburg? I guess he's talking about stuff on the street in Williamsburg? What does "copse" mean? Is copse in Williamsburg?

dissolves, lets me pass, nods assent. I mouth
"morning," eye the candied, cardamom gloss of my shoes,
shrug against the cold. Everything, as the nomenclature
goes, 4 Sale: this Smithean forge this Stereoscope-
by which I mean, of course, the wan illusion of depth

Of course, duh. Every time somebody starts talking about "this Smithean forge this Stereoscope" around me I'm like "Whoa, buddy, hold on just a minute there. Do you mean the wan illusion of depth?" And they're always like "Yeah, of course, sorry about that."

Did he step in candy in Williamsburg? Let's just skip to the end okay?

How our necks burn (fiercely) by rope or rote.
No? Yellow plastic from here to there to mark this
scene of some "disturbance." Is this the means of making art?
Good-bye Bill-y-burg. And so descend. As heir. To err. Into air.

Hold on a second brother. We read this whole poem and there was nothing about LOLfauxhemians at all and then in the very last line you're gonna be all like "Good-bye Bill-y-burg" and act like it's cool to just use that for the title of the whole thing? I mean it is old-timey how you put the hyphens in the word and that kind of reminds me of like 25 year-old guys in Williamsburg who dress like Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York and shit, with very insistent mustaches, and that kind of brings a smile to my lips. But did you even mean that? Am I giving you too much credit here? I'm not very happy about having read this whole thing.

Into air in Williamsburg?

[Slate, photo via Jason Anfinsen/Flickr]