Shall I Tell You How You Rile Me?

Shall I tell you how you rile me?

Your petty anxieties

I appreciate

Constitute your way of dealing with greater troubles.

And yet they are also pretentious

And undeserving of the sympathy

You seem to desire.

Your questions are a source

Of perpetual irritation.

Why, there are two types:

One is the query which you put to me

And when I effort to reply,

Having drawn myself from my mind’s wanderings

And considered the wisdom and suitability of my answer,

You have already turned away.

Begun on another question,

Or twisted your head

So that a curtain of half-washed hair creates a barrier

Between us.

Just a few seconds,

And your attention is lost,

And my good will and conscientiousness lost also.

Or there is that other inquisitive,

Where you inquire as to the whereabouts

Of a person or a thing

Without first swivelling your lazy head

Or using your lazy eyes

To check if that person is in the immediate vicinity.

In both cases I am frankly and nearly devoid

Of the willing endeavour to answer.

If I do, it is from untiring good will

Whatever frustration your manner costs me.

I am not worth the frustration,

As you do not value my answer,

Why should I not try to help?

If I am frustrated,

It is my fault and mine alone,

For you are doing nothing wrong but prising blindly

At this blanket of sensitivity

That has grown up somehow about me.

My own sins, surely,

Have knitted it.

So why should it matter if you want an answer?

Shall I tell you what else annoys me about you?

Well, your modesty is most unbecoming.

It begs and pleads and whines and grunts.

I would tell you what a shining animal lies in wait behind that shield

You smother a living creature, your human nature to get up and go.

To be always kind and forgiving when kindness is required,

And cruel and hard-hearted when cruelness is required.

Sometimes you have to be innovative,

But there are other times when you must conform.

There is more than one side,

I wish you saw. There is not ever goodness or badness.

The mood depends on the weather,

And whether the guests can be bothered to turn up.

You must learn to commit to reality.

There are just some things,

And there are other things,

And there are no things.

And though you are special forever for yourself,

You are not special for what you remark about yourself.

Do you really fail to notice that no one responds when you claim precedence

For something at which you are not superior?

Do you really never actually watch people

Walking and talking and leaning and laughing?

You imagine you’re good

When really you’re average.

You have to learn that quirkiness doesn’t spell for superiority.

No one is superior.


There is a balance.

You haven’t found it.

The End

133 comments about this poem Feed