By Nisha Susan
1. Sometimes, we hear, they like to give signed photos of themselves as gifts.
2. Male poets are moved to lyrical poetry in the presence of kings, prime ministers and cabbages.
3. They emerge from the womb with what the great poet Paromita Vohra called the Pyaasa Syndrome, believing ‘All He Needs Is Rum because it rhymes with gham’.
4. They sincerely believe that they are more ruthless than others in killing their darlings. Hence quotes such as ‘When I finish writing, you will not want to delete anything, but practicality will take over and I will be compelled to sacrifice thoughts and words I am writing so tenderly.’
5. They have perfected the mid-distance blank gaze while holding a Lime Soda Mixed Sweet And Salt/Blue Label Whiskey. This gaze simultaneously reminds you that you are what angry Malayali mothers call a mere krimi, reminds you that the Great Man is gracious and takes in the most powerful man/hottest woman in the room. This gaze is a gift. It cannot be replicated by practicing in the mirror.
6. Male poets look ahead to Great Manhood the way the rest of us look ahead to our first jobs – inevitable. Sometimes they stand up in public and say, “I became an adult when I was five.”
7. Sometimes they swear that older male poets who have just died passed on the mantle and excellent blurbs for their books.
8. They only like two kinds of female poets: the tentative, shy ones and the ones who write about their own sex lives. To male poets, both seem like the messages in Mission Impossible, built to self-destruct after a reading.
9. They really don’t think female poets can stride the universe in a single poem they way they can. They are poets but they are not fond of bananas #YesIScan
10. When female poets do well, the Great Men like to walk around the room hinting of their intimate biblical knowledge of the poet as a young woman.
11. They don’t mind saying in public that oppression (of other people) leads to better poetry. But they are moved to tears by their own vulnerability and want all of us to come along for the ride, whether we put meter or one-and-a-half or even if we are done for the night.