But I’m a poet


The book is in its gardening clothes. ‘I’m going out,’ it says. ‘You’ve let the lawn go again.’

‘You can’t have it both ways,’ I say. ‘What was it J.K. Rowling said? The price of writing Harry Potter was a very dusty flat.’

‘Senator, you are no J.K. Rowling.’

‘Thank you very much,’ I say.

‘It wasn’t a compliment,’ the book says. ‘At least she showed up every day, and did the work.’

‘But I am a poet,’ I say.

‘Here we go,’ the book says.

‘It’s not the same.’

‘That’s your position, is it?’

‘I am a poet,’ I say again.

‘It’s the oldest defence in the world. And the worst. Once you use it, you know you’ve lost.’

‘But it’s the truth.’

‘That’s the second oldest argument in the world.’

‘But it is,’ I say.

‘I think you’ve given up,’ the book says.

‘Never,’ I say.

‘Prove it.’

‘Can’t.’

‘Wrong again.’

‘How then?’

‘Write me a poem.’

‘Can’t.’

‘What, you don’t feel like it?’

‘I don’t feel like it.’

‘That’s the third worst argument,’ the book says. ‘On my desk, by 9.00 a.m. tomorrow,’ the book says. ‘One poem.’

‘If you do the lawn, you’re on,’ I say.

‘Don’t worry about the quality, just do it.’

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