Poetry Is Dead…

Long live poetry. At least on Instagram.

I confess, I’m on Instagram. Many moons ago, I found this platform as an outlet to read and share poetry. Through the mist of my memory, I recall that it actually contained poetry at that time. In the intervening years, that has changed. Where poetry once stood, now stands clever epigrams and aphorisms typically cloaked in a certain faux feminism motif that can be summed up in the words of one fabulously successful “poet” who shot to fame on the back of “She was a badass, with a good heart, soft but strong, unapologetic, but honest.”(@r.h.sin on Instagram). Yes, that’s considered a poem or at least a “quote” which is often used interchangeably.

Habit has kept me there, once where there was enjoyment, now there is annoyance and frustration. Typified by the following…

@jroachwrites Instagram

Despite my irritation, I will admit it is clever and visceral. I will also say it was enthusiastically received as a message of female empowerment. As per the title “Fuck You”, it’s an aggressive message to an ex who, presumably, did harm to the protagonist.

As I read this, the first thing I thought was “Romance is dead. Bury it next to poetry.” This was quickly followed by the realization that if I had written something intimating that I had slept with a woman as a gut punch to my ex, it most definitely would not have been well received as me being a man, it would have carried a distinctly non-feminist connotation.

I also couldn’t help but wonder about the man. Was he misused? Was he aware sex was going to be weaponized in this way? Did he think a real relationship was blooming…did he care.

I also wondered about the protagonist. What did it say that rather than being lost in revelry about a new romance, she was still so caught in the web of her last relationship? So much so that rather than loving messages to her new love interest, she was still paying attention to the ex. Did she do this only for purposes of attempting to hurt the ex? If so, was she aware that she objectified herself? That she took on the role of abuser in the name of empowerment? Where is the line between empowerment and vindictiveness? Where is the line between being the abused and the abuser?

I was also struck by the fact that of all the many comments, no one voiced any of these questions. The prevailing sentiment seemed to be “You go girl” and “Mad burn🔥🔥🔥.” In other words, there was something about this that truly resonated with the audience receiving it.

You could say I over thought it…I probably did. However, in thinking about it, it occured to me there was something potentially powerful here. The idea of taking back the pieces of yourself that you had given. The following is my reinterpretation:


I met someone
Who embraced the brokenness
That you caused and
You blamed me for
Now, in the secret places
Of my heart and
Of my soul
And on all the hidden paths
Along my body that connect them
The places I had so completely
Relinquished to you
He explores there
With loving words and
Probing fingers and
Gentle hands
He make those places whole
He doesn’t take them
He makes them feel like mine

Taking back what is yours, and learning that you can share it without giving ownership away. That seems more empowering than fuck you.

And yes, I’m getting off Instagram.