Poetism Commentary: “I Am Not Your Random Abuse”

The poem in question: I Am Not Your Random Abuse

This is the second poem I wrote when I (arguably) should have been paying attention in my HEPE 129 class at BYU.  As with I’m Not Sorry, written a few days before, the theme is someone who has escaped a bad relationship.  “Random Abuse” definitely seems more forceful to me, though.

It’s written from the perspective of someone who is the victim of constant gaslighting, though I don’t think I had ever heard that term back then.  (Thanks, exit from the LDS church, for teaching me!)  Narcissism also seems play a prominent role in the other party’s actions.

The title is an homage to the They Might Be Giants song “I Am Not Your Broom,” and the TMBG influence can be heavily felt in the meter and rhyming.  However, today when I read this poem, I think if it were a song it would sound something like R.E.M.’s “Mystery to Me.”  The words themselves are almost rambling in nature, and I particularly like the slant rhyme of “something” and “dumpling.”

As evidenced by the image below, the final version went through a fair amount of revision before being deemed “suitable” for publication.  It looks like the only portion that made it unscathed from the initial draft was the final stanza / “chorus.”  One other interesting tidbit is that the two lines before that final stanza were initially part of the web-published version, as my collective printout includes them:

Too bad the soda’s never there when you need it most
If a bottle broke it’s neck on you you might wake up someday

I find those lines at once disturbingly dark (domestic violence innuendo, anyone?) and hilarious: never would 18-year-old me dream of a beer bottle.  It would of course be soda.

The numbers in the margin of the handwritten text indicate the number of syllables per line.  I count those often, but this is the only instance I can find of writing them down.  And finally, here is my attempted transcription of the original text:

I am not your random abuse

You can’t blame me for what’s happened you did to yourself
If you’re distraught it’s not even close to my fault
You run around screaming and that’s why I got out
Your path was destruction never come to a halt
You looked in the mirror and thought I looked back at you
I guess now you’re so far gone that there’s no getting back
Unless of course you finally [unsure] take to heart what I said to you before
You’ve got no real chance to get back on the right track

But you’ve never listened to me before
So why should you bother to start now?
Why would you unstop your ears
You’ve tried so hard to unlearn how
You think that myself did this to yourself
And I tell yourself [unsure] deduce
That fact remains despite your flat rejection: what you may say
I am not your random abuse

You [unsure] out at me from behind bars you put there
Cry so hard that I almost feel sorry for something
But then I remember that you said somehow it’s my fault
And since it ain’t it you’re just all out of luck, my little dumpling
You are not mine, I am not yours
What does it take before you understand what I say?
Too bad the soda’s taken, guzzled years before never there when you need it most
If a bottle broke its neck on you you might wake up someday

It seems to me your brain’s impaired
Or maybe just a little loose
Whatever’s messed inside your head
I am not your random abuse

The final version is definitely more… refined, but the original quick rambling has its share of charm.  Especially

Too bad the soda’s taken, guzzled years before

I mean, if that isn’t golden verse, I don’t now what is.  (Just kidding, I do.)

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