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