Poetry Friday: “no unusual malice anymore”

h1 July 10th, 2009 by eisha

photo from Juiced Pixels. click for link.Welcome, Poetry Friday peeps. I’ve got a question for you: how good are you at holding grudges? I’m fabulous at it. If it were an Olympic event, I’d be a gold medalist 3 or 4 times over. At least, I used to be that way. I’ve mellowed a lot in my older-age, but in my youth my relationships with friends and boyfriends could be kindly described as “mercurial,” and less kindly as “volatile.” Lately I’ve been fortunate in being able to get back in touch with some of my old friends/enemies/friends again, and dumping all that old baggage for good.

But then… sometimes a relationship really can’t be fixed. Sometimes certain people are just evil, or needy, or batshit-crazy. Sometimes those people can’t be reasoned with. Sometimes staying in a friendship or a family or a marriage with someone like that can mess you up but good. Sometimes… well, in the words of Hub Moore and the Great Outdoors, “Sometimes you work it out, but sometimes you gotta walk away.”

This poem does a great job of expressing how that feels, when you’ve finally let go of someone to the point that you don’t even hate them anymore. You know… much. Hardly at all.

Here’s “For the Ex-Wife on the Occasion of Her Birthday” by Thomas P. Lynch (yes, the same guy that Jules mentioned in her PF post last week. What can I say? She piqued my interest.):

Let me say outright that I bear you no
unusual malice anymore. Nor
do I wish for you tumors or loose stools,
blood in your urine, oozings from any orifice.
The list is endless of those ills I do not pray befall you:
night sweats, occasional itching, PMS,
fits, starts, ticks, boils, bad vibes, vaginal odors,
emotional upheavals or hormonal disorders;
green discharges, lumps, growths, nor tell-tale signs of gray;
dry heaves, hiccups, heartbreaks, fallen ovaries
nor cramps—before, during, or after. I pray you only
laughter in the face of your mortality
and freedom from the ravages of middle age…

Click here to read the rest.

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This week it’s none other than Jama Ratigan playing hostess-with-the-mostess at her blog Alphabet Soup. It’s looking peachilicious over there. Dig in!

15 comments to “Poetry Friday: “no unusual malice anymore””

  1. Whosh–I wouldn’t want to cross Mr Lynch EVER! What a grand diatribe.It should be read with an Irish accent. And if his wife is anything like he portrays her, what an incredibly selfish individual.


  2. Loved this from a bit further on: “Godspeed is what I say, and good credentials: / what with your background in fashions and aerobics, / you’d make a fairly bouncy brain surgeon / or well-dressed astronaut or disc jockey.” Ha!

  3. Touché! He had me wincing at the long list of middle age ills, though . . . sounds too familiar. 😀

  4. What delicious nastiness. I’m starting the morning with thanks that I’m not in any kind of relationship like this.

  5. Eisha,

    I love it! So funny!!! Yes, it is most definitely a “grand diatribe”–as Jane put it. What a wonderful way to express hostile feelings–through poetry.

  6. While I understand the sentiments behind the poem, I guess it’s not the topic that I have come to cherish from this blog. You do a wonderful job with 7ITBB and I value all the work and input all of you put into this endeavor. This entry and its negative, angry sentiments seems out of place with all of the wonderful and creative works that this blog promotes.
    Nonetheless, outside of this entry, thank you for creating a wonderful place to learn about authors and illustrators – it is always a pleasure.

  7. Jane, true, but there’s at least two sides to every story. Mr. Lynch may not be the easiest man to live with either, if his ability to come up with a diatribe like that is any indication.

    JES, that is a good bit. I love the phrase “donkey lovers” too.

    jama, it is indeed very graphic.

    Ellen, it’s a good feeling, isn’t it?

    Elaine, agreed – I can think of many less productive ways of venting.

    Anonymous, thanks for the general praise. I’m sorry if this poem didn’t sit right with you, but to each his/her own. I’ve always been a fan of dark humor, and I think it’s more funny than negative or angry. I even doubt there’s really an ex-Mrs. Lynch serving as inspiration.

  8. Actually, this woman probably does exist, since he mentions it in the book I’m re-reading. But not in detail.

    Okay, I love how he lists first and foremost, under the “ravages of middle age,” the “bummers.” Unless “bummers” are some kind of body ailment I don’t know about and I’m being a dimwit here (altogether possible), I think that’s hysterical.

  9. I have no idea what to say about that poem, except that I am totally embarrassed I enjoyed it so much… and went to the site to read it in its entirety! Amazing the list of ills he was able to formulate.

  10. jules, for real? Well, so much for that theory. I hope she’s thick-skinned, or at least doesn’t know how to read.

    Courtney, no shame in it. Haven’t most of us had some kind of relationship that inspired a certain amount of ill-will?

  11. OMG that poem is sooooo funny! Thanks for the chuckle.

  12. Happily, a normal person ebbs and flows, has those Susie Sunshine moments punctuated with Evilene Episodes… like this poem. This sounds like one heckuva ex. I once heard a minister say that there were some people you needed to feed with “a long spoon.” As in, let me stay at least two thousand miles away from you… so I can say we’re acquaintances, if not friends.

    I love that this guy worked it out with words, instead of running her over like I’m sure he sometimes felt like doing…!

  13. Okay, the middle age ills were kind of scary. Like I feel like I need to eat right and exercise now.

    This poem really had me all over the place emotionally–laughing, cringing, feeling bad for this poor guy, for the woman, for the kids. Feels honest.

  14. Coming by late to say that even though generally I’m not a grudge holder I enjoyed the poem (even though it does seem kinda mean to publish a personal relationship poem). I think it’s because at I’ve wanted to say “So let us know exactly how you are once you have triumphed, after all.” to a few people who aren’t even ex-partners!

  15. […] than she thought, with her incisive poetry choices for Poetry Fridays (remember that scary awesome Thomas P. Lynch diatribe? Or that gorgeous one by the female sufi?). She introduced me for real to Naomi Shihab Nye and the […]

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