Tag Archives: Billy Corgan

I don’t write poetry … but I kind of do

A poem by any other name. Since I started at EMU, I struggled with poetry, namely, ridiculous postmodern poetry whose focus on deconstruction has destroyed any resemblance to communication. It became nonsense to me, and I was increasingly frustrated that so much attention was drawn to a medium that no one seemed to be reading anymore.

It’s the same with grad school programs. I don’t understand why almost every MFA or Creative Writing program puts at least as much emphasis on poetry as they do fiction, yet if you walk into a book store, the poetry section is made up of one or two shelves, and is loaded with dead poets and the works of Billy Corgan, like Blinking with Fists.

There’s no readership. If not for academia acting as a breathing machine to poetry, it would die. At least, poetry as we know it today (high-falutin, cryptic, elitist, nonsensical, inaccessible, and lame) would die. So does that mean poetry, in reality, is dead? I don’t think so.

Bob Dylan and Eddie Vedder will be remembered. I think poetry that will be remembered from this age of academic elitism (though there are some good exceptions) will be song lyrics. And this is the type of poetry I have taken part in for some time. I don’t often like to think of songs as poems, but they are. I’ve been writing songs since I was seventeen, and I have two full albums to show for it, with hopefully another on the way.

Does that make me a poet? Some would say no. I think so. I wouldn’t say I’m a good one. My poems are musical (duh), often rhyme, and are easy enough to break down, lyrically. I don’t have any interest in presenting the reader (or the listener) with the Emperor’s new clothes, and typically, I have something to say, so I want them to get it.

I’m not a terrible songwriter, I don’t think. I have definitely improved. As is true of most of my writing, I value honesty, and so, often the topics and stories in my songs are pulled directly from experience. In my lyrics, I have some themes I like draw from, as well as certain types of texts I cite.

I write about my life, and I often write about it from a religious perspective. I talk about politics, disenfranchisement, Satan, death, loss, and I like to say “I love you” in strange ways. Below is a song I wrote a while back called “You don’t need me.” It’s a love song, but it doesn’t come off that way. It’s saying, though I have all of these responsibilities in life, and though it may seem that I am nothing in the context of this world, it’s all meaningless if you don’t need me.

I wrote this song when I was playing with my old band, The Really Bad British Accents (Ron Kersey – Lead Guitar, Mitch Crane – Bass, and Howie Parks – Drums). You can listen to it here.

You Don’t Need Me

My computer fried, I lost all my memory
My TV died, where are all my friends
The light goes on, but I don’t know why
They don’t talk, they don’t sing, yeah, and they don’t cry

They don’t need me, they don’t need me
They don’t need me in this world
They don’t need me, they don’t need me
They don’t need me in this world

Wake up every morning, go to my job
Press the same dull grey button down and again
I keep pushing that button, but I don’t know why
But my boss gets rich, yeah, and I die


Every day I pay my taxes to the man
He broke ‘em, he took ‘em, now he can do what he can
Just seems like I’m paying more and more
But the world ain’t getting better, and neither am I


I vote every time the ballot comes my way
But the man I want, he never wins
I guess he doesn’t have that particular sin
But I keep checking that box or writing him in


It’s been a long long time since you’ve been in my home
My house in empty and my bed is cold
You could forgive, but I cannot forget
The man I was and the man I met

You don’t need me, you don’t need me
You don’t need me in this world.
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