How Pat McCrory chose the Poet Laureate: An occasion to howl
N.C. Arts Council
Valerie Macon, North Carolina's Poet Laureate

I saw the best scribes of my political commonwealth gobsmacked by rudeness, carping hysterical royally irked,

Tweedheaded hipsters yearning for the verbal connection in the independently owned coffeeshop and used bookstore who pass through universities Elon and App State and UNC Greensboro,

Wondering aloud who in the world this lady is,

The new Poet Laureate of North Carolina, the land of feet inexplicably coated with a sticky black substance, of tobacco farms and hog lagoons and banks and cars that whoosh with Doppler effect endlessly around concrete ovals,

Who we’re sure is a very nice lady and all but whose published output consists of two reedy volumes of self-published poetry,

Including one about a couple ordering pizza,

Who suddenly discovered herself Poet Laureate last Friday,

When Governor Pat bestowed upon her head the title while on the way to the restroom,

Where the North Carolina Arts Council happened not to be gathered,

Which would be no cause to eat fire or drink turpentine but the governor usually waits until the Arts Council vets nominations before making an executive decision from the starry mansion at the center of the machinery of Raleigh,

Which occasioned yacketayakking kvetching public airing of grievances accusations of ignorance or arrogance or some infernal combination, a reasonable conclusion given that we’re talking about Governor Pat,

Who after all emerged from a realm of efficiencies streamlining shareholder expectations quarterly reports in Excel spreadsheets job creation culture of customer service,

Who soaks in the foulness of a General Assembly ripping each other through shuddering cloud and lightning over the size of the yoke they would attach to public schoolteachers in exchange for a modest pay raise,

Who would sooner play bongos drop acid frolic naked through the Legislative Building during committee hearings than consult with academic types on a decision that by law lies with him and him alone,

Who gazes on higher education as leech on ass of market demand whose insatiable mandibles (Moloch!) feed more readily on holders of associates’ degrees in information technology and HVAC installation and repair,

Who after the fact revealed through spokeswoman changes to Arts Council criteria that seem also to have not been actually revealed to said Arts Council,

Which made for a very awkward situation for everyone, not least of whom is the new North Carolina Poet Laureate,

Who as we said appears to be a very nice woman who works for the state Department of Health and Human Services as a disability determination specialist,

Because nobody makes money writing poetry,

Which may be part of the problem,

Because job creation and executive efficiency do not blend well with art, nor should they, nor have they ever,

But there’s a reason why there exists an Arts Council, and it deserved better, as well as our Poet Laureate, who probably wishes she’d remained an anonymous civil servant,

Because changing the culture in Raleigh does not should not mean

Making a joke of culture.