2.18 – 2.20

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2.18  Soul Holiday

We all have times when we have nothing to offer.
We all endure hard internal silences
of profound depth and horrifying stillness.
In that panic, I have decided
That my soul has not left me.
Rather, my soul is on a holiday.
Enough, she says, of drudgery,
And off she goes on a spiritual retreat.
It comforts me in times when I reach down deep
And fail to even inspire my hair to grow.
When I feel empty and hollow,
I assume my soul is somewhere sunny,
Where there is uplifting music
With a whiff of mint in the air.
If I’m lucky, she’ll bring me back a souvenir
When she settles into my heart once more
Her gift to me is the desire to dream once more.

2.19 Paper Thin (a Negative Response to Getting Shellacked in a Forum)

We are encouraged to have thick skins.
Mine was always a little transparent,
And so I worked at it.
Layer by layer.
Thickening up my mental scabs.
Rejection, insult, dismissal.
All making me impervious to harm.
Surprising, that my armor
Proves to be so brittle
In the fury of unquenchable scolding!
How fragile I am!
How easily bruised my ego!
It turns out that growing a thick skin
Does absolutely nothing to protect your pride,
Which rides on your back like a hero’s cape
Fully capable of getting sucked into
The void of anonymous criticism.

2.20 – Oh, Internet! (a Goofy Response to getting shellacked in a Forum)

I upset the internet today.
I forgot how touchy it can be.
I thought you read the book, you see.
I gave no major twist away.

Knowledge is easy, my Internet
You give it freely every page
It’s difficult to fully gauge
What will make you swear and fret

But apparently today it’s I
Who got you foaming up in rage
In a single line on a single page
I made you hate me, made you cry

I hope that you’ll forgive my wrong
You’ll recover from my vicious ways
That in your future, virtual days
Oh, Internet, that you’ll be strong!

And something tells me I’m already gone
That in the space of a poem’s time
By the time I’ve finished my silly rhyme
You’ll have already moved on!

Time heals all wounds they say. I got yelled at for a very minor thing on an internet forum. I usually try to not involve myself online in any way that is confrontational, partly because I have a visceral dislike of the extremes of internet voices, and partly because I want to be liked and the easiest way to do that online is to be unobtrusive and vague. I got excited a couple of days ago and apparently “ruined” a plot point. I’ve never had a group of people turn against me that fast – it went from “Amazing! I agree!” To “EFF YOU YOU STUPID ASSHOLE HOW DARE YOU EXIST IN THE WORLD?!” in the space of ten seconds.

I’ve been confronted by people in person, so I recognize in my body the signs of feeling like I’m in a fight. The difference here was that there was no real target, no opponent. These were faceless strangers, intangible but full of anger. Probably what Hell will be like for me – just a bunch of loathing, patronizing strangers hating on me for all eternity.

Having had a couple of days in which to ruminate on the horrid culture which has spawned within the context of “online culture,” I recognized that ultimately it was a small matter in a small place which will probably never impact my life save for the night of stomach cramps I had over wondering how or if I was supposed to respond. Which is why I wrote the sillier, second poem. I rhyme because it makes me feel better about things. The symmetry of rhyme gives me closure, in the same way that planting flowers puts things in perspective. Oooh, I should write some more gardening poetry! Gotta jet!

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