Sunday, July 26, 2009

This Is Just To Say

One of the ways I used to pass the time in high school, aside from hanging out with my gay boyfriend (Hi Ryan!), reading Edie Sedgwick biographies or eating lunch alone next to the ceramics kiln in the art room, was to memorize poems out of our English class textbooks. One of my favorite poets for memorization was William Carlos Williams. He was a figure, much like Chaka Khan, John Fogerty, or Lindsey Buckingham, who I intuitively understood was famous to adults for once having been someone important, but whose significance mostly escaped me.

Despite this, one of my favorite poems of his to memorize was his This Is Just To Say. If you can't remember it, it'll probably trigger your memory if I tell you it's the short one about the plums and the icebox. Yeah, you know it. Despite my affection for the old guy, when it came time for our class to analyze his dreaded red wheelbarrow poem (memorized that one, too), I didn't just act like I wasn't interested. No, I had to take it a step further. Pejorative usage of the word 'gay' might have been involved. I'm not proud. And you know what the worst part was? Not that I chose to not be brave and not that I chose to sell out something for which I actually had deep affection. No, the worst part was that the classmate I had chosen to act cool for, that I had mocked this poem and poet to in poor taste, was actually fucking related to William Carlos Williams. He was her great-great uncle or something. Hell, her last name was even Williams. Out of a school of 2,000, out of a nation of millions, this was my luck. I completely deserved her disgusted side eye that day.

This is for her:

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
The words
That came out of my mouth
That day

And which
You had probably
Long ago

Forgive me
I was so young
Foolish and

No comments:

Post a Comment