Straight-Forward Poetry

I am super straight-forward, and sometimes it gets me in trouble. In 10th grade, I told my English teacher he was the worst teacher I’ve ever had – to his face. I guess that can be pretty unsettling for a teacher to hear, so the next day he asked me to stay back after class for what proved to be the longest two minutes of my life. My brashness about his lack of ability as an academic inspired him to write a poem about his feelings, and he needed to read it to me, dramatically.

I couldn’t tell you a single word he said because I was too busy dying.  I didn’t know where to look: should I make eye contact? should I stare at the floor?  should I close my eyes and pretend this wasn’t happening? what should I do with my hands? Luckily (?), he was so in to reading his poem with intense emotion that I don’t think he noticed. It was probably textbook how-not-to-communicate on both sides.

Ever since then, I freeze up when people recite poetry they’ve written. Sometimes boys like to pull out the “I wrote a poem for you” card out on me. Yes, this still happens in 2011. I obviously can’t speak for all girls, but I can’t be the only who thinks love poem recitations are super awkward and kind of lame. Though, it’s almost worse when boys sing to you because it lasts longer and you get 2-4x the anxiety of figuring out what to do with yourself for all that time. Eye contact? smiling? Tips greatly appreciated. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful and flattered that this has happened to me quite a few times, but I was even more grateful when they were over.

Anyways, dear future boyfriends, please don’t write me love poems, watch weird documentaries on Netflix Instant with me instead.



p.s. totally wrote this blog post while eavesdropping on the most depressing job interview at Subway


62 thoughts on “Straight-Forward Poetry

  1. Becoming Bitter says:

    That does sound awkward and uncomfortable. I wouldn’t mind hearing a song, IF he was a really good singer and the song was one of my favorites, but poetry? No thanks. Why don’t they just text it or email it to you?

      1. Becoming Bitter says:

        Oh dear. Too bad you’re not a pureblood witch. You could have apparated out of that situation.

        If you’re not a fan of Harry Potter, I’m sorry I confused you.

        I agree though – that’s awkward as hell.

  2. apronheadlilly says:

    I love to read and write poetry, but speaking it unless you are in a hip place, where everybody is into it, can be discomforting. But as an instructor, I think your teacher’s need to read you a poem he wrote smacks of serious dysfunction! How weird.

    1. ashleyjillian says:

      I never thought about it like that, but now I am really sketched out. He actually got “back officed” the year after I graduated, which means he must have done something hella sketchy, but had tenure so LAUSD wouldn’t fire him.

  3. docdude says:

    I bet you learned your lesson and won’t be telling him that he sucks ever again! Hahaha

    Am I the only one who now wants to hear about the depressing job interview?

  4. thewaiting says:

    I’m glad you lived to tell the tale. I think I would have died. I wonder how many other poems he’s written for students who hurt his feelings or whatever since then.

    And docdude is NOT the only person who wants to hear about the Subway interview.

  5. joem18b says:

    I have a friend who went on his honeymoon and, to help generate the proper mood in the evening, read his new bride his favorite (rather long) psalm from the Bible. She was waiting in bed and he said that, in retrospect, maybe his performance was a bit of a buzz kill.

  6. La Stranezza says:

    Have you seen the Corporation? It’s awesome and Indie and Canadian all at the same time.
    And there’s the PBS series America in Primetime which, while not on Netflix, is a unique look on beloved TV characters.
    Also, Radiant City is pretty good, as far as documentaries go. You can watch it at
    *Feels special for knowing so much about documentaries*

  7. Skylar says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. As a writer guys think it’s cute when they try to write something for me, but that just leads to my harsh criticism coming out and judging them on their weak-ass lines.
    I can’t say anything though, so I have to awkwardly tell them how sweet it was, then never look them in the eyes again.

  8. The Hook says:

    Of course your attitude gets you in trouble, so does mine! But if more people were as brave as you, you wouldn’t have to be so straight-forward in the first place!
    Weird, right?

  9. Bob T Panda says:

    Ashley, you are too funny. I can just picture the scene, and as someone who is known for speaking my mind when maybe I shouldn’t, I can totally relate. I like to say that the day isn’t complete unless I’ve offended someone. Just thought you might like to know that getting older doesn’t necessarily make you smarter. Not bragging, just sayin’.

  10. barkinginthedark says:

    one of the funniest movie scenes ever was in Carl Reiner’s “Where’s Poppa” where George Segal on a blind date with this girl who tells him her name is Louise then proceeds to sing “every little breeze seems to whisper Louise…and you think he’s gonna stop there…but he sings THE WHOLE SONG…it’s painful and brilliantly funny. carry on…

  11. El Guapo says:

    In that spot, if I knew then what I know now, I’d have waited for him to finish, shaken his hand and said :Thank you for probing my point”.

    But I have socialization issues anyway…

  12. Rachael Black says:

    Ohdear god(ess) etc etc this hit it one the head. Been there. Humiliated by that.

    Been years since a man has written me a poem. No wait, Never. Was thinking of my plastically enhanced sister. Not that I’m bitter that her millionaire husband could afford it, Okay I am. Her tits. Sorry, became distracted.

    Anyway, was lucky in middle school. Had a teacher that was awesome and didn’t care that I was a loser (read: no one will sit with you at lunch and you dress funny becasue you’re poor). He told me I was amusing and to keep writing.

    And we never had to write one dumbass lame poem the entire year.

    1. ashleyjillian says:

      I mean, poems can be cool, just not when they are about me. That being said, I’m super not into writing them either so I would have been stoked to go a year without writing one in middle school.

  13. Sheila Talbitzer says:

    I have been known to close my eyes, wait for it to end, and softly say “thank you”. I find that with my eyes closed it is easier not to laugh out loud and speaking the thank you softly controls the gagging sounds my body wants to make. I, thankfully, married a guy who wouldn’t do that to me or himself.

  14. jennifergrassman says:

    Hmm. Yes. Perhaps a poem in a letter would be more romantic. Having someone be like, “OK. Sit down and let me read you something really embarrassing I wrote while feeling hyper-emotional,” doesn’t sound like a good pitch. (o:

  15. Linda Vernon says:

    Ok, yes that’s embarrassing and awkward not to mention creepy and weird. But that’s jr. high for you. Now you must write and tell us all about the sad interview at Subway. Hopefull the person’s resume didn’t rhyme.

  16. lovelylici1986 says:

    Super awkward! Not only do you have to listen to someone share their feelings, but you also get a double dose of their (lack of) talent. I mean, really… Whaddaya do when you like what is being communicated, but the method was not carefully chosen? Since the person is being super honest, can you follow suit? “Sorry, I didn’t hear a word you sang because I was trying not to hear your voice crack.”

  17. Juliet Greenwood says:

    Oooh, ouch. Often in those cases I’ve found the song is more about the singer than the awkwardly hovering recipient. With a bit of emotional blackmail thrown in? Or maybe I’m just being old and cynical. 🙂

    Doing the washing up and not making loud disparaging comments when I’m watching Pride and Prejudice for the 2 millionth time does it for me. That’s about the loved, not the lover. 🙂 And I hope I return the favour.

    My dog says it’s about biscuits.

    She might have a point there 🙂

    Cool blog. And I’d love to hear about the Subway interview. Double ouch.


  18. Jessica! says:

    I am so with you. An ex (while we were dating) called my work voicemail and “sang to me” and it was horrible. He asked if I liked it and I laughed at him because that’s what I do in nervous awkward situations.

    I like not being the only one who gets weird over things like that.

  19. Becoming Bitter says:

    Ashley I have a question for you. If you post a page – will your bloggers get an update on that? Or do they only get updates on new posts? I tried looking through the help pages, but I already know whatever info they have on there. The reason why I’m asking is that I have joined this writing challenge so I have to post, a post/page everyday for over a week. They are only short, very short stories though. You’re an experienced blogger so help this bitter witch out if you can.

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