I am going to write a poem titled “The Mercy of Geography,” and it’s going to be about how unmerciful geography is. This poem will explore the tragic and arbitrary nature of birthplace, and the great truth that being born in a particular location decides the trajectory of one’s life. The poem will also illustrate my angst at recently meeting a handsome and successful guy on Twitter who lives ten hours away by car, and my bitter discovery that while he is single and likes my “whole deal” and would love to “Netflix and chill” with me, due to the horseshit geography of where I grew up, and due to the surety that my life would come to nothing beyond the sickly cornfields and abandoned houses that are major features of my fuckbucket birthplace, I married a local boy at age 22 and am now unavailable.
The poem, “The Mercy of Geography,” will also be careful to address the confusion I feel toward my own dissatisfaction at my situation, as my husband is not a violent man, or a repulsive man whose sight or smell I cannot take, or even the kind of man who jokingly orders me to get my heinie into the kitchen and fix him a sammich. The poem will attempt to explicate why, if married to a man who does not exhibit outright disrespect or other indictable shortcomings, a woman would become distraught upon realizing the bullshit unfairness of geography.
Therefore, “The Mercy of Geography” will detail how a man that a woman marries in the vicinity of her own rural birthplace — like my husband, for example — is also controlled by this location. To do this, the poem will use artful phrases to evoke how such a man living here is prone to wearing a baseball cap at all times; how this man will sneer at paying for hair-cuts because he can just buzz it off at home; and how this man will drink on weekends and pile out of a bar at 2 AM with his buddies, participating in the bro-dude routine of screaming incoherently into the void that is the local town square. “The Mercy of Geography” will word-paint how a man raised in my home town will no doubt imitate his father, and so will refuse to take beach vacations because he finds the ocean unimpressive. Also, this man cannot swim. I hope to suitably describe how this man is likely to be tall and strong and built for physical greatness but will end up, on most evenings, scrolling through the Internet and paying for Playboy subscriptions like a decent human being. This man, despite a millennial gleam that may have attempted to assert itself early on in the relationship in the form of rejecting traditional values, will turn out to be actually quite traditional. It must also be acknowledged in this poem that such a man will love his spouse in a traditional manner, meaning his love is sturdy, lasting, and reliable — so long as said love doesn’t have to uproot itself from the fuck-ass town it was born in.
My hope is that these poetic intimations will explain how such a man’s wife (like myself) may, after several years, acquire a somewhat nihilistic perspective when realizing that she has hitched her wagon to a rather low-hanging and lukewarm star. Of course, the poem will also feature how this conclusion could not have been reached without simultaneously realizing that there is no escape from this bullshit geography, for she is continually sucked back into the local mud by economic and societal factors. (Side note: The poem shall also mention, in a sideways and ironic tone, that this local mud is erroneously believed to have miraculous healing powers, mostly by financially viable tourists who are able to get the hell out of town on the next train.)
In writing “The Mercy of Geography” I’m also hoping to explore my own exasperation at the whole clusterfuck Twitter-guy scenario by proving, in labyrinthine language, that any carrying-on with an outsider would result in disaster, as the stranger in question:
- Lives in a big city, which is directly opposed to the poem’s speaker own rural “love of the land” and “wild heart” that truly appreciates the “open spaces” of her spirit-fucking Tri-County area
- Was, like the speaker of the poem, born in a small town, but was courageous enough to drive away and live in a different place, indicating a level of unfathomable incompatibility
- Regularly visits a barber to get his hair cut in a specific and contemporary style, which hints at a true rejection of traditional small-town values and also (possibly) a rejection of traditional, sturdy love — the discovery of which will parallel my real-life suspicion that this Twitter guy maybe isn’t such hot stuff, after all, and maybe I should just tell him to back the fuck off.
In any event, my poem, “The Mercy of Geography,” will hopefully display all of the above themes and conflicts, plus the utter Leatherface reality of my place in the world. The result of my efforts will be an intricate, thoughtful and melancholy masterpiece. The poem will unveil my erstwhile hopes and dreams that have been repeatedly dashed against the limestone rocks native to my bullshit local geographical region, as well as my future dreams of escape that continue to fling themselves against the sides of barns (also common to my ass-bag local region) again and again in the pattern of unimpressive ocean waves.
I’m really looking forward to writing this poem and capturing the raw, rural beauty of my economically depressed shitstain of a hometown. And perhaps, if I dare to hope, a reader of “The Mercy of Geography” will mistakenly romanticize my misery and come to live here, only to discover firsthand the regret of moving to such a bullshit geographical location. And maybe, maybe — if I’m greedy with hope — this person will find me, and I will invite them into my home, and we will read poems from faraway places, bitch about disillusionment, and go grocery shopping at Food Lion. And when they suggest that the local mud really does have healing properties, I will not roll my eyes; instead, I will suggest we smear the mud onto our faces, and there we will be, sitting at my kitchen table, crusted with foul-smelling earth, making peace with our unmerciful geography once and for all, together.