Dear annoying white boy who likes poetry because it means more ways to make it all about you:

I would say I knew you were trouble when you walked in
but that would be a lie
I assumed you were trouble when you walked in
You proved me right when you sat down and asked the first
Brown person you saw how to pronounce something
you had learned in your high school Spanish class six years ago


I knew you were annoying, Poet Boy,
can I call you Poet Boy? Well, it’s my poem so I’m going to
I knew you were annoying, Poet Boy,
when your first poem had references to cigarette smoke
AND a girl who didn’t love you
AND the word “fuck” sprinkled on like parmesan at Olive Garden
Except you never told the waiter “when” and it ended up covering your whole table
and getting on the floor
and I can tell you from experience,
eating parmesan off the floor is both unpleasant
and hairy


Before you, Poet Boy,
I never knew that “Speak, Poet” could be a demand and not an encouragement
That snapping and giving an appreciative “mmm”
at a good line in someone’s poem
could be a performance in and of itself,
let alone a competitive sport
Who are you trying to beat?
Or are you just
beating off?


Is the sound of your voice
so appealing that you can’t go thirty seconds without hearing it?
Or are you afraid that you’ll forget what it sounds like
if you listen to someone other than yourself?


Before you, I never knew that I could play defense so well
Pulling out another poem just so we don’t have to hear
a fifth, sixth, seventh poem
They all blend together
like paintings in doctors’ offices
You think that your pain makes you a poet
But all it makes you is a cliché


You’re so vain
you probably think this poem is about you
And so oblivious
that you think it couldn’t be
Because you’re not one of those guys
You’re a good guy, right?


And maybe you are


I am angry and bitter and harsh
And kind of a bitch
The type that you write about in your poems
I am terrible because I know you can be better
And I am terrible because I see you,
Poet Boy,
I see you
because I was you
and occasionally still am you
and it’s easier to be mad at you
than it is to be mad at me


If this makes you sad and self-loathing and gross
that’s okay
And I don’t have to be kind
But I will be:
I believe in you Poet Boy
I wouldn’t be so harsh
if I didn’t think you could do better
so go out and write about something other than
your depression
Because a part of depression
is thinking that your depression
is the most interesting thing about you
And it’s not


I am interested in your softness
In the soft things that you like to touch
Like flannel, and satin,
and baby bunnies
The things that still scare you, spiders
or clowns
or baby bunnies and the way their noses quiver


I am interested in your shame and where you learned it
And the unlearning, too


I want to know the last time you laughed so hard until you couldn’t breathe
And the first time you cried so hard you couldn’t breathe


And if you can’t remember
Make it up


Tell me what you wish it would have been
Tell me about something besides
the girl who wouldn’t fuck you
AND the depression that fucks you more
AND how the world is all fucking shit
You have a right to your anger
But you have a right to your softness, too


And if this makes you angry
go write a poem about it


That’s what I did