Retrospective: 2016 – A Poem in 3 Acts

As I take my digital labour of love – Classic Jenisms – into 2017, I have decided to take part in my first WordPress Discover Challenge.

In the spirit of a brand new year, the challenge is titled ‘Retrospective’, and the Editors are asking us bloggers to “look back over our past years’ worth of blogging… to build on or synthesize our best work of 2016”. Since I’ve only ever published prose on this blog, I figured that it’d be a nice change for me to write a ‘found’ poem using lines from my 10 most popular posts to date. For ease of reference, I have hyperlinked all of the lines to their original posts.

I hope you enjoy it, and in contrary to my customary urge of offering ‘literary critique’, I will leave you, dear readers, to ‘interpret’and glean from it whatever you will. 🙂


Retrospective – 2016: A Year in Tough Loves

Act I – At home

Sometimes, I just want a place to read while chilling out or waiting for friends.

Well you go right ahead and move away then, Missus, if you think you’re so independent and shit.
“Mom, are you crying?”
“You’re a bitch.”

Want to ditch
law school and write the next
Booker Prize-winning biographical novel on Shakespeare?

Dream on.

“Oh, your colleagues welcome you.
Your students admire you, are loyal (now). For three
Or four months they will
Depend on you, they will
Accompany you, they will
Grow fond of you, and then they will go

Act II – At work

Miss Jen
I wish the pores on my nose were smaller;

Miss Jen
I wish I was better at maths;

Miss Jen
I wish I could transition from being a ‘playground bête noire’ to a self-fashioned ‘walking dictionary’

Like a mother’s bosom, this place suffocates us with love –

But –
You don’t care??
Who’s Shakespeare???
Shakespeare is but a knee-jerk apotheosis of women, or worse, a glib cop-out that attempts to mollify us modern-day bluestockings with slapdash flattery. 

What the Dickens?!

Miss Jen –

What else do you know but wax poetic about dead poets in highfalutin terms that no one really has to know to get by in life, and why would you be concerned about the boring basics of human living?

You think that shit always straightens itself out in time?

Listen up:

No one – high or low, black or white, young or old – is exempt
From the literary ‘curse’ of being flawed,
Of being all too human.

But how could such a flawed human be capable of so much feeling loving thinking –

Never thought I’d say this but
I owe a lot of who I am today to

Paedophiles, womanisers and alcoholics.

They are flawed humans.

They are humans before their flaws.

Their cracks and crevasses
Equivalent to sewage pipes in a palace:
Hidden underneath a polished façade, but
No less existent in the very edifice on which the façade


Act III – In the moment

In the moment
Your thoughts layered up
Like the skin on a callus, as a spot of bother
That grows into a sand dune of

As we set foot in the car, a sense of inertia burgeons, and silence,
Being inertia’s auditory kin,
Takes on a second, material nature as I imagine it
Transmogrified into a Chinese wall, splitting


the gearshift to


-ise the car

into two, separate halves:

Of me in the shotgun,

About all the things you’re not thinking about,

And the other
Of you in the driver’s seat, still
Tapping, tap-pa-tee-tap-tap-tapping away while you cruise on, tapping


And I clammed up, channelled my inner nerd and stocked up on novels and memoirs about people who couldn’t be more different than me and went through them one after another allowing myself no breathing space in between like a bunny on steroids:

friendly-but-not-too-chummy people
hilly-but-walkable environs
cheery-but-never-cheesy ambiance
peopled-but-not-too-crowded streets 

I’ve come to find structure to be a strange source
Of solace,
Especially at times when life has given me lemons and
I don’t even like lemonade.

After all,

When your bedtime agony is about deliberating
A ‘micro and ball-fiber pillow’
and a ‘feather and down pillow’,
That’s how you can tell humanity has made
Real leaps and
Since the d-
-wn of time. 

Eu amo meus 

[                    ].


The top 10 posts referenced here (+ 1 bonus): 


2 thoughts on “Retrospective: 2016 – A Poem in 3 Acts

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