"What kind of job are poets “allowed” to do?"
–Michael Gottlieb

1.  It’s of course obvious but also too easily forgotten that most poets and artists have very little money. Forgotten in the sense that poets and artists are able to represent wealth without themselves being wealthy—their cultural work representing, pars pro toto, the resources required to consume it, like a kind of promise.
2. In terms of urban demographics, an influx of poets and artists can come to represent the socio-cultural displacement that results when wealthier people acquire property in low income and working class communities, even though those poets and artists are themselves displaced as a result. This is also a kind of promise.
3.  Wealthy classes follow poets and artists into marginal neighborhoods as an investment strategy because the promise of art and the promise of displacement are the same promise: the promise of bohemianism.
4.  This use of the word “bohemian” first appeared in the English language in the 19th century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities. Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which were often expressed through free love, frugality, and/or voluntary poverty.
5.  Which is to say: through poets and artists, poverty appears as voluntary, free, and loving.
6.  Because poets and artists take poverty and represent it in nice things: art and poetry.
7.  Because poets and artists make a promise to the wealthy that their antagonism, their “unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints,” will not in fact be expressed as antagonism at all, but instead as nice things: art and poetry.
8.  Because poets and artists, despite marginalization and poverty, will not attack the wealthy, but instead make nice things for them.
9.  Poets and artists appear to the wealthy as the fantasy that exploited classes accept, and even value, their exploitation.
10.  Art and poetry reward oppression.
11.  Art and poetry assure the wealthy that they will stay that way.
12.  Residents of low income and working class communities hate poets and artists so much because they know that poets and artists are unwilling, through means other than art, to protect their communities from exploitation.
13.  If poets and artists are to renegotiate their relationship to exploitation they must renegotiate how they communicate that exploitation to the wealthy.
14.  The best way for exploitation to be communicated to the wealthy is through violence.
15.  If poets and artists were willing to mug and assault rich people, and take their money, then poets and artists would no longer appear to the wealthy as a worthwhile investment strategy.
16.  This would have the immediate effect of shifting the representative power of art away from the de-intensification of class struggle and towards the willingness of the disenfranchised to reclaim and re-distribute resources.
17.  This would have the more gradual effect of slowing the socio-cultural displacement that results when wealthier people acquire property in low income and working class communities.
18.  This would have the more gradual effect of providing poets and artists the resources required to arm themselves and their communities with weapons—weapons like, for example, fully automatic assault rifles with armor-piercing bullets—weapons capable of resisting the incursive power of the state, which serves the wealthy.
 

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