2020-04-17 I’ve Got Too Much “Poor Me” in My Poetry

To be fair, I’m really referring to just the one poem I’ve reworked a hundred different ways and each time I try to sneak it into my manuscript, my mentor says “nope”.

To be fair, he’s only seen two versions of it and not the fifteen I wrote before or the 30 I thought about writing but didn’t or the hundred times I cried about the central subject matter when I was living it in 2016.

I’ve got a handful of poems that he’s tagged as “too melodramatic” and I get it. He says it turns the reader off if there is too much “poor me”. I get it. I really do. I read Natalie Diaz and Rachel Mckibbens and Robert Creeley and even good ole Emily and there isn’t a drop of “poor me” one can squeeze from any of it. So I have to figure out how to lament about my poor broken heart very “matter of fact” like. Either that or just give up. Sometimes I wonder about that option.

Take the last 24 hours for example. I met with the Poetry crew for the new lit mag last night and we had a good chat. In the sprit of getting to know each other better, we shared out a sampling of our own stuff. I only needed to read as far as the first persons poems and I already felt like I didn’t belong. Pile on poems from the other two and I end up feeling like I have no business in this business.

I have to remind myself that everyone has a different style and voice but it is hard not to compare AND not to feel a little like “poor me” is the best I can do. My poems are boring. The subject matters are very “so what” and once I start down that road, all shapes of doubt start to follow.

What’s a girl to do?

I haven’t written anything worth while this semester at all because I’ve been too busy revising and the world has been too busy with its pandemic and aint nobody got time for first draft nonsense (well, lots of folks do actually, just not me).

So how do I take my stupid unrequited love broken heart poem and make it matter of fact? I mean, the section of the manuscript is called “In Cataclysm” so what do you expect?? How about something like this….

I said “I love you”
And he just turned and walked away.
Echo of silence.

I cried after parent teacher conferences
And every day and night after that.
Echo of silence.

The election came and went
And I couldn’t even care.
Echo of silence.

I became a hollow bone white husk
and no-one seemed to notice.
Echo of silence.

I hosted a New Years Eve Party
and drank myself down the drain.
No more echoes. Just silence.


(I left out the part where I wanted to die. Cuz that crosses the line into “poor me” territory). Perhaps the answer is to kill myself in the poem. Just matter of fact like. Dead, done.

I hosted a New Years Eve Party
and drank myself to death.
No more echoes. Just silence.

That’s attempt 221 folks. Put another talley on the board.
Now switch all the abstractions to images and waa-laa!

I swear, if it is the last thing I do for this damn thesis it will be to figure out some way to get this stupid poem into a format that is acceptable.

I little part of me (OK a big part), is just so sick of revising poems. I’m starting to have all sorts of ideas for other projects and just want THIS project to be done. Yes, I want it to kick-ass, but I’m over it.

There I said it. Maybe if I get all the “poor me” out of me in this blog, I can just go edit those poems like a boss and be done. That’s enough pondering for now.

Time to Make the Donuts,
~Miss SugarCookie

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