Stephanie Brown is the author of Allegory of the Supermarket (University of Georgia Press, 1999) and a winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship in 2001. She works as a public librarian and lives in Southern California.  Of this piece she says, "The FU impulse is particularly effective when dealing with self-important gasbags and pricks of both sexes. Nothing beats the feeling of satisfaction gained by delivering the finger with a smile on one's face: hence, 'Invective.'"








The point is: F. You.

That's all it (everything) ever meant, ever.

That's all it's for.

It's a bummer how significant you grew

And how I so need to revenge you.

All I do and will do is a way to get back at you, to this I am dedicated.


I'd like to watch you really stew in your own shit,

when I pull off a complex psychological mind-f-er.

(Yeah, you can do it though it may take years.) 1

E.g., the point of my successful career as a _____________ is: F. You.

and the point of my unlined face is: F. You.

And the point of my sobriety is F. You.

And the point of my boob-job is F. You.

And the point of my twelve-year-old car and my million $ house is: F. You.

And the point of the beautiful new paramour?

So the old will say, "How could you!"

And the point of my unfailingly sincere smile is: F. You.

And the harsh little digs of a compliment are one-of-a-kind F. You.

Oh, indeed, without you, my life has no meaning.

Oh, indeed, I wish you

Envy and covetousness;

Let me be the teacher who teaches you about your pratfalls and weaknesses!

Because then you could "eat your heart out," 2

You could grimace and ache with regret, bile, and gas pains.

I'd rather that you cry don't disappear or go very far away, my lovely dear

Who, then, would incite the throb of your varicose veins?


Sorry, you're not my type. Honey, get some help.

Okay you were right about that

So you told me so I did get help

Oh yeah, I understand now,

Come n get it I get it all now

It's all about: F. You.

You taught me that screw.

When the meek get their due,

They get a chance for: F. You.

And you were right I was a loser, all right, and you, a hammer-on-anvil armstrong.

But don't gloat too much while you stand away your life on your

Rose Parade Float. 3

Don't forget to make eye-contact with your legions

Your lovers who loved your cruel maneuvers;

And still love you with unmentionable unreason.

Before you stumble,

and cookies crumble,

before you look into my eyes as I say,

"You'll never know how much you meant to me." 4

With a cold, new kind of smile.







1. (But it's worth it.)

2. This language is probably not fresh enough for you. Here: here's a head of lettuce for you.

3. Yeah, like this is really some obscure reference. Don't make trouble!

4. I will really be saying, "F. You." And thanks.




from American Poetry Review, May/June 2001