The Courage of Shutting-Up
One thing that continues to amaze me is how many people are led to this site by searching for “poems for an ex-boyfriend.” I’ve covered this issue before, which probably only exacerbated the situation, but it remains one of my top five search strings of all time. To these searchers, I must ask: are you fourteen? Because that is the only excuse for this. If so, I would advise you to go ahead and write a poem yourself, don’t send it, and then, twelve years from now, read it at Cringe.
But if you are not fourteen, I feel very strongly that I must say: dude, you do not want to send a poem to your ex-boyfriend. I hope the people in your everyday life are telling you this as well, because seriously, what a horrible idea. Your ex-boyfriend does not want to receive a poem from you. In the long run, you do not want to have sent one. I don’t speak from experience here, because I have never sent a poem to an ex-boyfriend. I find it a good rule of thumb to not send anything to an ex-boyfriend, Here Is Your Stuff Back delivery aside. I think I once copied down my favorite poem—a poem not written by me—and sent it to my then-boyfriend, but I was a little drunk, and we were still dating at the time, so it was easily chalked up to a cute thing we could hurry and forget about, together, not some awful emotional stain on a piece of spiral notebook paper that will linger in his drawer for years, or, worse, become a story he tells at the bar, a story his friends request by saying, “John! Tell the one about the poem that crazy girl sent you!”
Here’s the thing: as much as guys like to whine about how “girls only like assholes,” 99% of the guys making this complaint only like crazy chicks. But guys like crazy chicks ONLY AT THE BEGINNING. You don’t want to be remembered as the crazy chick due to some breakup shenanigans. And nothing says crazy chick like a poem. See: Sylvia Plath. Sure, Sylvia Plath is revered and taught in universities, but is Sylvia Plath still getting pipe? No, because she wrote a bunch of poems and then stuck her head in an oven. All Sylvia Plath has now is a bunch Maggie Gyllenhaal-wannabes trying to carve her words into their soft inner thighs with the sharp china toe shoe of a ballerina figurine. There is no ex-boyfriend in the world worth that kind of rep.
I feel like this would be as a good time as any to explain my ex-boyfriend labeling system. It goes like this: you can only have one ex-boyfriend. He is the most recent person you dated, but are no longer with. The minute you and your boyfriend break up, he becomes your ex, and the previous ex then becomes, depending on the frequency and warmth of your current relationship with him, My Friend John, My Old Boyfriend John, or This Guy I Dated Once. I have all three of those guys. I do not send poems to any of them. I feel we are all the better for it.
But since there seems to be a real void to be filled here, since people fourteen and not-fourteen will not stop googling, I whipped up the one poem that should cover all the bases for you:
I thought about you the other day, for the first time in a long time.
Your favorite song was playing;
The light from the setting sun was leaning into the room just so.
Also, I was going down on a hobo.
Use it if you must, but if you do, you better attribute that shit.