I read a tweet from one of those Twitter accounts dedicated to poetry talking about how people shouldn’t date writers unless they’re ready for drama, moodiness, over-exaggeration and for every single piece to be about them as well as how their break-up and fights will be publicized for all the world to see. I thought nothing of it until I saw a girl use the line in one of her poems and agree with it. Inspired by Lorde’s “Writer in the Dark,” here’s why you shouldn’t date writers, I guess:
It’s open mic night.
I sit down at one of the tables after my performance, and your opening lines were ludicrous.
Apparently, you had read somewhere that you shouldn’t date writers; I argue that I’m not a writer. You scoff, you smirk, you raise a brow and tell me you are. I scoff, I smirk, I raise a brow and tell you I’d like to hear one of your pieces. You nod, you stand, you walk towards the front of the stage and yell slam poetry. You recite the lines word per word just like the movie. You finish, you bow, you walk back towards me and tell me this is really stupid.
Fast forward and we’re talking over salad plates. You take a breath, you clear your throat, you look at me and tell me you’re still not sure if you should date a writer. I laugh, I shake my head, I think and tell you I’m not a writer — your features tell me otherwise. Your jaw is clenched and pulls your lips into a line; your eyebrows are raised and form mountains on your forehead. Oh, you’re serious. I take a breath, I clear my throat, I look down and tell you nothing. You say, you ask, you demand: promise me that I’ll never be the subject of a poem; promise me that I’ll never be more or less than a person; promise me that I’m safe from your poetry.
Fast forward, and now you’re my safe zone — you know me better than anyone else.
One, I don’t drink on the same side of a cup.
Two, I can’t share a bathroom.
Three, I wear slippers in my own bathroom.
Some would call it high maintenance, others idealistic. I would call it having preference, but I wonder: since when did high standards and hopefulness become part of negative character? No one is without quirks or qualities unfamiliar to our own routines, for each of our realities are separate until one special collision.
Four, my bed sheets are sacred ground.
Five, no one’s hands go near my face.
Six, my clothes are color-coded, but I have a special unorganized pile in my bathroom.
Your and my days, with difference in significance, have become “our” days, as we narrate the events over full plates, the people around us a silent audience. Every time, I simply stare longingly at the steaming food in front of me, because I like to get things done as soon as possible, but I wait, because you’re talking.
Seven, I don’t share my drink.
Eight, my spoon is my own and so is my fork.
Fast forward and the going is getting tough.
Fast forward and the going is at its toughest.
Fast forward and the going is over.
I have written and thought and rewritten and rethought this poem more times than I have finished a draft of this poem. My eyes have began to loathe the brightness of the white document on my laptop screen as I have began to loathe the blinking cursor taunting me — daring me — to write a line, and I do, eventually.
I write multiple lines that don’t correlate at all with each other. I write lines upon lines featuring the same character — I write about you.
I feel stripped and liberated. I am a sober man taking his first drink after rehab, in which my substance is poetry, and I debate whether or not promises break along with a relationship. I guess they do, because:
You are a run-on sentence making up most of my poems and never knowing when to stop.
You are the first CD that I had ever received and dropped and played too many times that now you keep going on and on and on in the same song.
You are my pinkies, my obnoxiously short pinkies, that make it difficult for me to do things sometimes, but I gladly show off.
You are the silent prayer in the back of my mind at church.
You are the visitor I’m waiting for to walk into my apartment and compliment the way I’ve decorated.
You are my grammar — inconsistent — just like this poem will be in a second when I mention that you are no longer any of these things to me.
You are no longer safe from my poetry, because you no longer make me feel safe.
You have made me storm through cold weather and push until I could push no further beyond my boundaries, while you have been walking back towards the starting point this whole time. I have gone off course with no finish line in sight.
I shared a bathroom for the first time; I held sweaty palms and chose not to decline; I let you use my soap and lie on my bed sheets; I let you change all the things you said you loved about me, but I had wrongly mistaken what is mine for something that is yours to give. There is no love in the empty space of a heart belonging to someone else — in your case, your heart lies in the belief that you shouldn’t date writers. You thought, you lost, you’re wrong and I’m needy and dramatic and moody.
I am a writer.