Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hating Poetry: An Emo Tale

This is dedicated to someone I am really learning to hate. My mom will say "You don't hate anyone" but that's something moms have to say. I probably will say it someday, myself. But I know the truth, the real, horrible kernel of the truth is that sometimes, you just can't like someone. And there's even something satisfying (and terrible) about the fact that they probably don't even know you are hating them. Like love, unrequited hate is powerful.

One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

I hate this poem. It keeps following me around, and it just keeps getting truer. Dammit.

True story: when I was in Graduate School (ah that place of much losing) I had a disastrous paper about it. People who just didn't get my point, nor my sarcastic tone (I was doing it for a point, dammit, which was lost to the graders of my exam. And thus, failure.). I still shake my fist at those exam graders. Oh to be so misunderstood!

(But I really actually love the poem,) and I hate that a moment of breaking down, of crying like a complete idiot in a complete stranger's office as she told me "the bad news" (which wasn't ultimately that bad. I got over it. No one died). All because of this poem. (Well, that one and some other things, but I really, irrationally, blame this poem.)

I hate this poem the way you hate the truth that hurts you.

I think that poetry is one of those places that can truly grab those places in our souls where we are not always cheerful, where we don't respond to the Starbuck's clerk "Fine" but rather tell them how we really are today.

And yes, I agree that Shakespeare Hates Your Emo Poetry. So do I. But I even hate my OWN

Emo poetry. All emos hate their own poetry-- it's part of their very core.
Tell me why I tried.
I'm filled with disillusion
I am you are me
--Emo Haiku courtesy the Emo Haiku generator.
Hate is a good, strong emotion for poetry. It's almost as good as getting drunk. But the headache of hate is less physical.
Anyway. The point is this: I have no point which I can actually blog. But here is a blank space within the blog where I am focusing the energy of the point I would make if I could blog it:

See. There. Try to come back from THAT you person-who-I-was-thinking-of.


dotsmom said...

Actually, "One Art" is one of my all-time, top-of-the-list poems. I read it at the English Club meeting yesterday!

K. Smith

kim wells said...

Yes, I hate/love the poem; it's very much on my list. I love it; I think it's brilliantly true. But I think there is something kind of painful about that, in a weird way. :) There's that old cliche about thin lines between love/hate. You know?

I wanted to go to the meeting but I have way too many things on my little tiny plate lately. Had to skip it.