I Wrote This for you by Iain Thomas and Jon Ellis
This book is divided into four sections. Each section contains multiple poems and photos. The poems go through stages of a relationship. At first, the text seems clingy and obsessed. Then as the book progresses, the tone of the text changes. The relationship doesn’t last and there is grief and heartbreak associated with it. Then ultimately, the book takes a serious turn and speaks of death and loss.
The poems are mostly short, but get a point across in a short amount of time.
What I liked
When I first started reading this book, I thought that it was going to be full of mushy, desperate poems all about one person obsessing over another person. I mean, I get that we tend to get a bit infatuated with people we’re in relationships with, but this seemed like an excess, almost a stalking type of excess to me. I was surprised though because this was not the tone the book kept.
This obsessive relationship, transformed into something else. The two parted ways and there was plenty of heartbreak on the author’s side, or our narrator’s side, whoever it was supposed to be. The poet tries to come to terms with a relationship that has ended, but there’s still a lot of feeling there. It does get complicated. It does get deep. It cuts, just a bit.
I’m generally not a poetry person, but I did find this book of poetry to be somewhat more honest and down to Earth than some poetry.
The photos, almost all of them, seem to be taken in Japan. Since I lived in Japan for almost three years, I like the idea of scenes from Japan. I do imagine that maybe a military service member was involved in some of this story.
What I didn’t like
It’s a poetry book and that can turn me off of a story. Poetry is ok. I used to write poetry at one point. I tend to think that poetry is flowery and superfluous. It can be very beautiful. It can be ugly. It can seem pointless. I don’t need to hear about how you thought about all the flowers and love in the world when you went out for a walk. Just tell me that you went for a walk and it was a beautiful day. I don’t know why I am of this mindset, but I just am, and poetry can be difficult for me. It makes no sense that I don’t love poetry as a writer and an artist. An artist is really no different from a poet. A poet captures a small window of time in few words, while an artist also captures a small window of time, with one painting, or one drawing. It’s pretty similar.
Ok, I get being a bit infatuated with somebody. We’ve all been there. Bobby over there is so darn awesome that I can’t stand it and I’m going to talk about him all day and magnify his good parts and then ignore his bad parts and when I see that he’s really human, I’m going to be disappointed. I’m also going to try my best not to let Bobby see my flaws.
This type of situation leads to the flowery language in the first part of this book, the obsessiveness, the mania.
In that type of situation, you like the idea of a person, more than you like a person. You hold them to this lofty ideal, and it’s not real, because everybody can be a jerk sometimes. Everybody has both good and bad within them and hold the same capacity to be flawed as anybody else.
You created this person in your head and this person doesn’t exist. Of course, you’re disappointed, bitterly so, when you find out that they’re not real. That’s actually a hallmark of someone who is mentally abusive and controlling, by the way. They’ve created an entirely different person in their heads, that is not the actual person they’re abusing, and they abuse the person when the person doesn’t match up to their ideal image. Not everyone who is infatuated with someone is an abuser, but if you have been abused, sit down, and think about it. This person was probably upset because you didn’t meet their ideal criteria they created in their head, without bothering to tell you. This doesn’t give them a pass because abuse is still wrong, but it helps to understand some types of abuse a little better.
Now, back from my tangent–if someone was talking to me, like the narrator in this book was talking to this person in the beginning of the book, I would be apt to skedaddle, but maybe that’s just me. I would have been like, “You’re being way to intense for me, this soon.” It seems juvenile to be so obsessive. It feels like someone creating an ode to Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the nineties before they grew up and realized it was an obsession.
I found this more interesting than most poetry books, but it’s still poetry.
Is poetry an appropriate way to express your feelings to someone else?
If someone wrote you a so-called mushy poem, how would you feel about it?