previous posts
Angst & Graphite.
Please pass the Neosporin.
Pi Day.
Kung Fu PJs.
Rainbow on the corner.
Interracial relationships.
Ho hum.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Censored verse.

Due to the abundance of subject matter, I'm continuing with Roy's bad teenage poetry theme today.
In high school, we had a literary magazine that the students put out with help from faculty advisors. Students could submit artwork, photography, prose and poetry to the magazine committee, which would then convene to go over submitions and choose what was deemed good enough to add. At least, I think that's how it worked - I was never a big participant in committee type things back then.
My sophomore year, I had a friend who attracted the very worst sort of guys. Honestly, (and I hope I'm not offending any feminist sensibilities when I say this) she seemed to want to find relationships with boys who would beat the crap out of her. I watched her provoke and needle and nag until, finally, the idiot would reach his snapping point and just haul off and smack her upside the head (or kick her down the stairs, or pull her around the room by her hair, etc). Maybe she liked the drama? Maybe she was into S&M but was too embarrassed to admit it in the bedroom? Who knows why we do the things we do.
Anyway, watching her get smacked around inspired my poetry. The subject matter is a mish-mosh of my just having discovered e.e. cummings and growing up influenced by after-school specials. Here's what I submitted to the magazine committee that year:

he loves me!
he loves me!
he hit me, but
he loves me!

he loves me!
he hit me.
but he loves me.
he loves me.

he loves me.
he hit me.
he loves me?

he loves me not.

The day after the committee meeting, I was approached by the faculty advisor and told that, while the students wanted to include my poem in the magazine, the faculty wasn't sure it was appropriate. I guess they didn't want to send the message out to the parents that one of their pampered private school daughters was getting the shit beat out of her on an apparently regular basis. When questioned about the inspiration for the poem, I admitted that it wasn't me I was talking about, but I refused to divulge the name of my friend. They weren't sure whether to believe me or not, so to cover all bases, they brought in a private counselor/investigator and had him give 15 minute interviews to every single female freshman through senior. In addition to the interviews, we had a morning assembly meeting in which the faculty addressed the issue of abusive relationships and how they're bad. "Just say no! to beating your girlfriend."
All because of a little poem, which ended up getting censored from the magazine anyway.

At the time, I was sort of proud of the big stir my little verse had created, and when word got out that the faculty had censored a poem, of course everyone wanted to read it.
Looking back, however, I am sort of sad my poem didn't get published. The rest of the Bad Teenage Poetry published in the magazine that year will live on indefinitely in the school's library and in whatever issues people kept as they grew up and got on with their lives. Mine, however, became the poor poem that strut and fret its hour upon the stage, and then was heard no more.
posted by hilary at 10:41 AM |


Blogger Kurticus Maximus said...

Wow, pretty cool. And a good poem too.

Yeah, I was the only guy on the "editorial board" of my high school's literary magazine. We would all read the poems, then vote on which should get published. Eventually the girls just stopped counting my vote, because I said 'no' easily 90% of the time. I mean, that shit was bad.

Anyway, that means that you should be impressed when I call a poem good. :)

3/20/2006 9:00 PM  
Blogger Blue said...

You should definitely be proud of the bit stir it caused! I hope it helped your friend, as well as any other girl that was going through that.

3/20/2006 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Hilary-Dilary-Dock said...

Sounds like you and my sister could get along easily. My sister wrote a poem about a girl who would get locked in a closet at home and all she ever tried to do was call try to get to the phone to call the police, but she never could because if she left the closet, she'd be beat more. (Gasps for air) Sorry for the long sentence. Anyway, she says she didn't write it about anyone but was in that type of mood that day (whatever that means). Anyway, the school thought she was writing about herself and called my parents in and my sister into the principals office. Anyway, my parents were mortified. The school told my folks the only reason they hadn't contacted child services as well was because my family has attended that school for years and none of us (not even my sister) ever looked as if we were abused. Anyway, my sister told them she was just writing and that was what came out of the pencil. Anyway, my mom gave it to her and told her to NEVER turn in a poem like that again! LOL!

She is still proud of that poem because it stirred things up too. Since then, she's written darker poems and have had a few published. Sometimes I wonder if I should worry about the poems she wrote!


3/21/2006 9:02 AM  
Blogger Roy said...

Lol, that's hilarious hillary. Er, well not that your friend was getting abused, but more because that's how you found your inner poet and that your school reacted the way it did.

Mind you, I quite like your poetry. You have this way of showing interesting perspectives on things that would have never have occurred to me otherwise.

Thanks for participating in my little poetry open-mike night. Soon I'll bring a bongo drum and we can be beatniks.

3/21/2006 6:20 PM  
Blogger Nae said...

I hear what you are saying about it not being about of the school's history and all. Just think though of the countless young women you might have helped just by writing a poem that caused such a big uproar for a while!

Oh and I have to say, you do have a way with words. LOL, some I may not understand but you put them together so well LOL :)

3/22/2006 12:00 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

That poem is amazing! My first thought is back then I would've been embarrassed about being the cause of every single girl having to be interviewed - I LOVE that you were proud of the stir you caused. :)

3/25/2006 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So my question is, what happened to your friend? Did she ever "get better"? Those seem like the wrong words. Did she find a healthy relationship?

3/26/2006 7:55 PM  
Blogger hilary said...

Not that I know of. She was a year ahead of me, and after she left for college, we had a bit of a falling out. Apparently she got annoyed with me that I told a mutual friend she was pregnant, especially since she (unbeknownst to me) didn't plan on keeping it. She yelled, I yelled, we never spoke again.
I did google her name once, but she'd either married and changed her name or just didn't have an internet presence.

The strange thing is that this girl was fairly brilliant and had an infectiously fun personality. She was an amazing visual artist, and also had the ability to keep up something like a 3.8 at our prep school while simultaneously partying constantly and involving herself with dangerous guys. Self desrtuctive genius, perhaps?

3/27/2006 9:26 AM  

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