TOM BECKETT Engages
No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself by Robert Fitterman
(Ugly Duckling Presse, Brooklyn, 2014)
My Robert Fitterman Backstory Leading Into An Engagement
With No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself
Ok. This is an engagement with No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself (Ugly Duckling Press, 2014) by Robert Fitterman. But I want to begin with a personal digression which seems relevant.
I don’t do poetry readings all that often. They come to me though from time to time whether I’m ready for them or not. Mostly, I should say, I’m not (ready, I mean). Public appearances really ramp up my self-consciousness. I have or don’t have visible, credible social skills depending on how self-conscious I’m feeling. The more self-conscious I am, the fewer social skills I tend to exhibit. That’s all I’m trying to say.
So, Fitterman’s title is very much in my wheelhouse (whatever that is). But I have digressed from my digression.
Rob Fitterman was my host one of the last times I read in NYC in the 1980s. He couldn’t have been more gracious, I couldn’t have been more socially awkward. End of digression (I think).
Digression and depression are near homophones. Discuss.
No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself is a monologue, a soliloquy, a cri de coeur in the form of a book length poem.
No, Wait… is also an extended meditation on the psycho-social constructedness of everyday life. Difficult to know whether to emphasize psycho- or -social sometimes. The important takeaway, I guess, is that the two terms, in and as reality, are actually kind of practically inseparable.
One wants to “compartmentalize,” but inner and outer interpenetrate individual and collective consciousnesses, to greater or lesser extents, all the time.
Far out, right? I’m just sayin’…
Any Who in Whoville is likely to recognize its most tortured, maudlin self to some degree in this book. I know I did.
No, Wait… is an eloquent exploration of imploding introspection. Here’s a randomly selected passage:
I can’t stand it anymore—I have no one and no one wants me.
Seriously, think about that last statement, isn’t that
What every human being lives for? Yes, to love and to be loved
by that one special someone who makes you feel like
Heaven is on earth, who makes you feel like if the world were
coming to an end next week, you would just want to
Spend every last moment with them, watching your favorite movies
and getting cozy under a blanket. Well guess what,
I have NO ONE! No one likes me, no one wants me, and no one
loves me in that romantic way. What a fucking life!
No Wait…is pitch perfect, a stunning accomplishment. It’s the best poetry book I’ve read so far this year.
[March 5, 2014]
Tom Beckett's latest book,
Dipstick(Diptych), is now available from Marsh Hawk Press.