Passive Aggressive Letter To A John

The same, the story of the same, women who are too similar rarely get on, you’re as bad as each other, oh you fight because you’re so similar, it can’t be helped, I can only apologise, of course it nearly destroyed me, he loves you, I totally and utterly reject your assertions, oh you know there are two people in every relationship, I’m sure it never occurred to you, of course you enable him, girls don’t speak in loud voices, you sound like a foghorn, you haven’t been pregnant, no one would ever be good enough, just because someone is powerful doesn’t mean they aren’t also tiny and small, to be fair, did you think about all the things you did wrong, my pain is larger than your pain, you’re just so intimidating, perhaps you shouldn’t be so serious, just laugh more, everything is a joke, oh she sobbed so terribly, it’s an inherently manipulative position, so much unspoken tension, if only you would straighten up and fly right.

Emma Barnes was born in Christchurch in 1980. She experienced her childhood and adolescence mostly from inside her head. She studied English at the University of Canterbury without so much as getting drunk once, although somewhere in there she managed to come out. It was only when she moved to Japan on a whim after finishing her degree that she was rudely forced to interact with the world and people more immediately. Since then she has been running to catch up and revising almost everything about herself constantly. Now she finds herself living in Wellington happily with two cats, a partner and a growing collection of Crown Lynn pottery. She has spent the last year starting her own literary magazine and is finding it at once exhilarating and exhausting.

Barnes comments: ‘ “Letter to a John” is a song by American singer-songwriter, Ani Difranco. The majority of the phrases in this poem have been said to me at one time or another in my life. The rest of them aren’t too far from the truth.’

Poem source details >



Emma Barnes’ poetry blog
Emma Barnes’ lit mag
Ani Difranco’s website