Also, that fucker ate all the hot pockets.

An imagined open letter from the justifiably disgruntled wife of poet William Carlos Williams, the man who wrote this famed poem:

This is Just to Say 

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

 

Dear literary critics:

You guys are assholes.

Did you even read the poem you claim is so brilliant?  First off, my husband ate all my fruit, and then instead of apologizing in person he left a post-it note admitting that he did it, but that he had a good reason which was basically “I wanted to“.  And not only does he eat all my plums, also he ends the post-it telling me how goddam delicious they are.  I know how delicious plums are.  That’s why I was saving them for breakfast. 

You people read this poem and love it, but really it’s just a not-very-apologetic-apology from a man confessing to mild burglary.  And who do you think had to go out and buy more plums for breakfast because someone promised his parents I’d make plum pancakes for everyone?  Not Mr. I’m-far-too-poetic-to-go-to-Walmart, I’ll tell you that.  Frankly, I don’t even think plum pancakes are a real thing.  They tasted terrible and I’m guessing he just made them up because he’s “poetic and whimsical” and so I ended up having to apologize for the shitty pancakes that I didn’t even want to make.

And then the whole world is like, “DID YOU SEE THIS APOLOGY LETTER?  IT IS THE GREATEST MODERN POEM EVER!”  Just – what?  No.  IT DOESN’T EVEN RHYME.

Frankly, I expected that people reading the apology would be more sympathetic, like, “That guy stole your fruit and then told you how awesome it was?  What a dick“.  But instead everyone is all “GENIUS!  ENCORE!” and now my husband is utterly out of control.  This morning he climbed up into the tree in the front yard wearing only a bathrobe (my bathrobe – because he’s not content to just steal my breakfast, apparently) and he refused to come down because he claims I “purposely” destroyed his latest poem.  It was not a poem.  It was our grocery list.

I told him that no one wants a poem about kitty litter and two-ply toilet paper but he said I don’t understand poetry and that he couldn’t hear me anyway because he was too busy writing a poem about how “trees are very scratchy” and at this point I don’t even know anymore.  Apparently everything is a poem now.

Here’s a poem I just made for you :  There once was a girl from Nantucket.  I wonder if she has some plums I can borrow.  The end.

Oh, Christ.  I just found a leaf on the table with a note scrawled on it reading: “This is just to say that I broke the cat when I fell out of the tree.  Forgive me.  I fell so fast and Mittens was so old.”  

Jesus, people.  Just stop encouraging him.  

Hugs, Mrs. William Carlos Willams

************

And now, the weekly wrap-up of awesomeness:

sid

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

  • Mugs are 40% off if you enter SAVING4TAXES code at check-out.  I recommend this mug or this one.
  • People always ask how to see the newest stuff.   Click here.

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by the lovely and funny Dave Tank, whose new memoir The Year of the Roses is available right now.  I just bought a copy myself. It’s the true story of Dave spending his thirties traveling the world, always one step away from grasping success and happiness. When his mother dies unexpectedly, he has to leave his life in Paris to return home to face an unsure reality without his best friend.  Dave walks away from his career to take a year to put his life back in order. In that year, he finds the most unlikely of teachers – his mother. Through the journals of her life she had left behind, Dave learns how to see life through her eyes and find true happiness. This was the year two lives became one. The Year of the Roses. Go buy it – one for you, and one for your Mom for Mother’s Day. Details here.

115 thoughts on “Also, that fucker ate all the hot pockets.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. All hail the rude jerk who ate his wife’s food and then quasi apologized with a sorry-not-sorry in-your-face-I-ate-your-fruit pansy-assed poem! Literary critics, what do they know anyway?
    But seriously, can we get a picture of bathrobed hubby in the tree?

  2. MAGNETS, BITCH!
    I’m sorry, I don’t get the poem thing, but then again, I never do. I am often touched by how poetic my badly translated spam emails are though. I think I just have a broken poem gene :/

  3. Hahahaha this is brilliant!
    But plum pancakes sound terrible – blueberry or banana pancakes are much better!
    I love the ‘sorry not sorry attitude of the poem but that’s as far as my encouragement towards the plum-stealing-douchenugget goes. Promise!

  4. It was only a PLUM! I’d go ballistic if it were the last bottle of champagne or the last piece of chocolate, but all this hoo-haa over a PLUM? Let him have it and suffer the gastronomical consequences later. Now breaking the cat while falling out of a tree…that’s good stuff.

  5. My William Carlos Williams inspired poem from a couple of years ago:
    Compost In Springtime
    Rats,
    Two-
    Big motherfuckers.
    I screamed.
    A lot.

  6. These are my exact feelings about poetry, and I was an English major. I laughed so hard, stolen plums came out of my nose. Kinda painful actually. Can I be Jenny Lawson when I grow up?

  7. UFB, love plums but pancakes? Really? Tell him to get dressed and take his parents to Cracker Barrel, you’re sleeping in!

  8. There are my exact feelings about poetry, and I was an English major. I laughed so hard, stolen plums came out of my nose. Kinda painful actually. Can I be Jenny Lawson when I grow up?

  9. I actually knew of William Carlos Williams only because he wrote a collection of short stories called “The Doctor Stories”–or maybe he didn’t intend it to be a collection and someone just put them all together in one book. I remember starting to read it and being underwhelmed, and I don’t remember if I ever actually finished the book. But now that you’ve reminded me he exists, I may go look to see if I still have it, and reread it. Knowing he is a fruit thief/inconsiderate husband might cause me to see the stories in a different light.

    P.S. I’m way more excited to read your new book than William Carlos Williams’ old book!

  10. My ex and his current boyfriend almost broke up one time because my ex ate the last of the Nutella, even though his boyfriend asked him not to. True story. Too bad my ex isn’t more familiar with poetry, because he could have just yelled, “WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS, BITCH,” which is the literary equivalent of “PIRATE LAW, MOTHERFUCKER.”

  11. A Poem for Victor

    I went to
    the store
    and did not
    buy the towels

    you forbade
    me to buy
    Instead
    I bought

    a giant
    metal chicken
    Her name is
    Beyoncé

  12. An Ode To The Kitchen God

    I baked
    Muffins
    Corn muffins
    With blueberries
    I wanted to use raspberries
    But they had gone bad
    I forgot to throw them out
    Husband put them in his cereal
    Knowing full well
    They were for the muffins
    Not knowing they were sour
    Later in the day
    The beautiful sunshiny day
    He felt sick
    A sharp pain in his belly
    He ran to the bathroom
    My blueberry muffins filled the house
    With sweet aromas
    Of baking and butter and blueberries
    And I had them all to myself

  13. Well this is just too say I LOVE the GOT pic of you!! It starts tonight, right? Can it really be?!? I do believe summer is coming. 🙂

  14. I used to make my students write their own apology poems, and I would get the best results. “Forgive me, I used the last of the toilet paper. It wa 3-ply and so, so soft” is one that I always remember.

  15. I have cut off
    Your sticky, snatchy
    Plumb-stealing fingers and
    I’m so sorry…

    Not sorry, you tool.
    I know that
    You needed them to
    Pick your nose.

    You had t’be stopped
    Before you took
    The last yogurt, or
    Worse! The beer!

    Fucker.

  16. I’m trying to think of plum flavored things I like…and the only thing that comes to mind is an actual plum. You’re welcome for the deepest comment ever written.

  17. Ugh, I’ve always hated that poem. Seriously, I would have shared if he’d just asked.

  18. I’ve always loved the poet Kenneth Koch’s version! I think it captures the giant middle finger WCW was actually giving the reader:

    Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams
    BY KENNETH KOCH
    1
    I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next
    summer.
    I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
    and its wooden beams were so inviting.
    2
    We laughed at the hollyhocks together
    and then I sprayed them with lye.
    Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.
    3
    I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten
    years.
    The man who asked for it was shabby
    and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.
    4
    Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.
    Forgive me. I was clumsy, and
    I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!

    Kenneth Koch, “Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams” from The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 2005 by Kenneth Koch.

  19. If the note had said “Those darn kids ate your plums again” I doubt anyone would be immortalizing it. BTW, blaming the kids is a way smarter way to get away with eating someones “special breakfast food” because of course the kids will deny it thus causing the mother to blame them even more and when the father steps in and punishes the kids he’s probably going to get his own “special” reward later. It’s the perfect crime people!

    If you ask me I think Adam killed Able, father jealousy, blamed Cain and then got busy with Eve after the kid was gone. That’s why there are so many people in the world.

  20. I made pancakes this morning for all. I hate it when I have to make a second batch of batter because there wasn’t enough in the first. I really wish those boxes would get it right, makes 6 to 8 my ass. No plums though. I don’t like plums.

  21. I love that poem, have always loved it. And it’s so easy to parody:

    I have eaten
    the hobnobs
    that were in
    the pantry

    and which
    I was maybe
    saving
    for you

    Forgive me
    they were yummy
    so sweet
    and full of oats

    (written to my husband when I really did pig out on the hobnobs)

    Your letter to the literary critics made me blow coffe through my nose. Which, of course, is why I love you.

  22. My husband eats ice cream. In front of the kids. In the middle of the day. And when they give puppy dog eyes, he moans in rapture and says, “Oh! This ice cream is SO good!”

    So my son got to be 12. We all shared the leftover Christmas pie. When my husband came home from work, he went straight to the fridge, then exclaimed, aghast, “Who ate my pie?!?” My son looked him straight in the eye, sighed contentedly and said, “I ate your pie. And it was SO good.”

    My husband was in shock. I was in awe of that set down, 12 years in the making. And then we laughed and laughed. One of us cried a little at the loss of pie.

  23. Dear Ms Lawson

    In spite of your understandable tirade against Mr Williams, it behoves us to mention to you that were we NOT to laud efforts like this and cause great debates amongst the unwashed masses, those unholy souls in charge of the curriculum would like as not do to English what the Common Core has done to mathematics.

    Certainly your thoughts on the deliciousness of plums or the relative morality of ‘mild theft’ are fascinating, but really, we’re trying to save children from an education which involves juxtaposing the subjunctive collectives of a standard lexical structure, in a reverse double-helix, just because the minister for education Said So.

    Just sayin’

    Regards,

    Literary Critics.

    P.S. Thanks for raising the profile of literature, literacy, and new books. You’re making our lives much more hope-filled. May all your readers become imbued with such passion for Word.

  24. I work at a facility that takes in kids with emotional issues– we have a lot of kids who cut, for example. Throughout my shift we have different groups for the kids to do– coping skills, art, etc. I decided to try something new for education group, and printed out several different poetry snippets, than asked the kids to pick one, and draw whatever emotional response it evoked. It could be part of the actual imagery of the poem, or just something they thought of while reading it. This poem was in that bunch, and an older teen boy picked it. I was really curious to see what he would do, as I liked the sort of elegant simplicity of it, and was really interested to see what he would get out of it.

    He drew plums. On top of a fridge. In a poem about a phoned in apology I got a phoned in drawing. 🙂

    It was all good though– we teased him (all good naturedly) until he finally laughed and admitted that he just wanted to play basketball. 🙂

  25. The first thing I ever wrote when I was a kid was a cross between a story and a poem. It was:

    There once was a little fish
    A shark was chasing him
    Too late the shark got him
    And the little fish was never seen again.

    I was 6. I shit you not. I’ve always had a dark poetic side and have been wearing black ever since. 😛

  26. Hahaha I’m sure a bunch of people will also point this out, but the whole point of that poem IS that he’s being a dick. It’s not a real apology. It’s more like a “Hey, guess what? Our relationship is like the worst and now all we do is passive aggressively try to piss each other off with fruit theft. And guess what? I LIKED IT! Oh yeah, that fruit theft was the highlight of my day, you miserable old…I mean, ùh, sorry dear.”

  27. can’t argue with your logic, nope, not me, cause I HATE it when I go to the fridge to get something I have been saving and it is gone. No poem is gonna make me feel better.

  28. I love poetry, but the kind of pretentiousness that comes along with it drives me nuts. You articulated my feelings about this poem SO WELL.

  29. I actually did a graduate paper on this poem, and most literary critics state that this poem is him apologizing for having an affair, because they weren’t having sex. But he’s sorry now, and they should have sex, and so they do. After doing the paper I find this poem to be incredibly sexy, but I’m also a huge nerd, so research on things gets me excited. I was once doing a paper on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, found an entire journal dedicated to everything Arthurian, and basically had to be put to bed because I was so overwhelmed and excited.

  30. So I was checking out the cool hourglass and I noticed that Amazon showed this item under the category “Customers who bought this also bought…” http://amzn.com/B004E4EQOY It’s a runny nose shower dispenser. Sooooooo… yeah. Kind of missing the connection between beautiful magnetic art and a giant nose that looks like it’s dripping snot.

  31. So I was checking out the cool hourglass and I noticed that Amazon showed this item under the category “Customers who bought this also bought…” http://amzn.com/B004E4EQOY It’s a runny nose shower dispenser. Sooooooo… yeah. Kind of missing the connection between beautiful magnetic art and a giant nose that looks like it’s dripping snot.

  32. Reply

    (crumped on her desk)

    Dear Bill: I’ve made a
    couple of sandwiches for you.
    In the ice-box you’ll find
    blue-berries–a cup of grapefruit
    a glass of cold coffee.

    On the stove is the tea-pot
    with enough tea leaves
    for you to make tea if you
    prefer–Just light the gas–
    boil the water and put it in the tea

    Plenty of bread in the bread-box
    and butter and eggs–
    I didn’t know just what to
    make for you. Several people
    called up about office hours–

    See you later. Love. Floss.

    Please switch off the telephone.

    Florence Williams’ reply to This is Just to Say

  33. She should have written a poem back to him :

    You ate my delicious plums
    I am coming after your bums

    You’ll today learn a lesson well
    To at-least never eat and tell

    Ha! How about that!

  34. She should have replied like this:

    You ate my delicious plums
    I’m coming after your bums

    You’ll today learn a lesson well
    To at-least never eat and tell

    Ha! How about that!

  35. There’s nothing like this blog in the Multiverse.
    Nothing.
    Thank you, Jenny, for being so damn indescribable and nutty.

  36. This is just to say
    that at the party
    last night when
    you
    were progressively getting
    drunker
    and turned to
    me
    asking about
    the husband/boyfriend that I don’t have,

    I could have
    killed you
    with anything in my purse or
    the fried mushrooms on the table
    like a psychotic McGyver.

    …..
    I love all these comments. Thank you for the blog post inspiration. I was going to write about this conversation from last night, but this works even better!

  37. I remember reading that poem in high school, and while everyone else was praising its structure and imagery, I just thought the guy sounded like a dick. And when my English teacher insisted that I provide a “positive critique,” I said that at least Williams owned up to it a little, unlike my boyfriend who would eat all my Cheetos and then we would have the following conversation:
    Me: “Have you seen a big bag of Cheetos around here?”
    Him: (hastily wiping orange dust on his jeans). “Huh? No! I don’t think you bought any. You should go buy some.”
    I think that’s when my English teacher and I both knew it was going to be a long year.

  38. lol I we just had a discussion about William Carlos Williams in one of my English Lit classes. And, to be honest, I wouldn’t mind at all to read a poem about kitty litter. It would be a nice change of pace for me.

    TO THE BLOGGESS’S HUSBAND: Continue your kitty litter poetry writing dreams!

  39. ROFLMAO. I was a literature major and my reaction was incredibly similar. When I read this poem, I was like… What. the. fuck.. Why is this poetry? There’s nothing poetic about it! The imagery is boring, the meaning is idioitic, there’s just nothing. This is the modern art installation of poetry.

  40. The worst part is, plums taste best when they are warm from the sun, not cold from the ice box. He stole the plums, ate them at their worst, and enjoyed it.

  41. I did a four-year English degree and got honours, but never got poetry. It’s my guilty secret. Not enough words. Give me a doorstop Victorian novel any day.

  42. I never got that poem. I always thought it was about sex. Then again, I think everything is about sex.

  43. Jenny, I freaking love you! I laughed so loud my husband thought I was choking or something and came running to check on me. Will you please make a pic or drawing with the poet in the tree? I need that on a mug or a bag or something like that.

  44. Holy hell….you do belong on the iron throne. George R R Martin needs to get on that. OMG..I am on to something NO ONE WOULD EXPECT THAT TWIST.

  45. When I was in high school my English teacher told us she couldn’t let us read that poem because it was about sex. Now here I am with a degree in English and years of reading literary criticism and I still have yet to find anything about William Carlos Williams fucking fruit.

  46. Thank you for the discount. I bought the mug I wanted. Amazon Prime has me spoiled on free shipping so I saw the s&h and almost blew a gasket. But I’m getting my DUSC mug, and I want to put stabbing implements in it instead of pencils or coffee, so I feel empowered.
    Also, someone on your facebook said something profound about you that has affected me so much because I’ve been fangirling for so long now. I’ll just say what she said:
    I really like you.

  47. Dear Mrs. Carlos Williams: I think your mistake was making regular pancakes. Yeah, I can believe they tasted like crap. Did you puree the plums??? or were they left as big chunks in the pancakes? See? There was the error. You should have made an OVEN pancake (they are also referred to as German pancakes or Dutch Babies – not sure why the Teutonic influence, maybe the people in Prussia were skillet-less, but loved their ovens…who knows?) Anyway, the pancake would have puffed up nicely with the sliced plums nestled in its eggy, buttery goodness. The in-laws would have loved you and felt very unkindly toward their own offspring…so points for you!! BTW…the pancake also works well with peaches…just sayin’…

  48. There was the other one he wrote about dancing around in the attic naked. Wonder what Mrs. WCW thought about that one?

  49. She should have replied like this:

    You ate my delicious plums
    I’m coming after your bums

    You’ll today learn a lesson well
    To at-least never eat and tell

    Ha! How about that!

  50. dear bloggess,
    i would like you to know that you have actually interpreted this poem correctly. when i first read this poem in my modern literature class, the professor explained to us that WCW wrote this poem in response to other poets of his time, namely TS Eliot. the intention of the poem is that it is supposed to be sassy. its supposed to be simple. WCW was trying to make the point that poetry is for everyone. you don’t have to be a scholar or a critic to enjoy poetry, and more than anything, poetry is allowed to be FUNNY. WCW meant to make poetry accessible when the other nitwits of his generation (TS Eliot) were trying to show off all the references to greek tragedies and whatnot that they knew. and I appreciate him for this. (and if you’ve ever tried to read “the wasteland”, you will understand why WCW needed to pull out some sass.)

    so laugh on! and create your own poetry in the spirit of WCW! its what he intended!

  51. William Carlos Williams is much more my speed than Whovians are, but I really like the idea of the TARDIS dress you’ve featured on your left sidebar as a “thing you love today.” Every time you eat pizza you can pretend you’re sending cheese and pepperoni off on an expedition through space and time!

  52. In total agreement of photo of bathrobed hubby in tree writing a poem. Maybe Wil Wheaton would be up for posing 😀

  53. I’m sorry if this a repeat since I’m fairly certain you’ve said it somewhere before: But what make/model snowcone machine do you have? I’m thinking it’s time to make an investment in my mental health by way of readily available joy errr…snowcones…Thank you!!

    (Our’s is a Little Snowie home version. It was a couple hundred dollars but we’ve had it at least 5 years and still use it every week. ~ Jenny)

  54. I have seen many funny replies to this poem…my favorite is this one:
    by Dixon

    April 24, 2008

    This is Just to Say

    I cleaned
    the toilet
    with your
    toothbrush

    which you probably
    expected
    to be sanitary
    in the morning

    Forgive me
    it worked great
    so pink
    and so stiff

  55. Definitely using this in class as an example of deconstruction theory. Or maybe it’s feminist. Or Marxist. Anyway, I just hope grad students have a sense of humor.

  56. Oh wow. As a writer, I can tell you that you have so picked the wrong target for poetry complaints. Try reading some Jorie Graham. Then tell me if her work doesn’t make William Carlos Williams sound like a friend to us all.

  57. Omg, I loved this so much that I posted it to my college Eng prof. And these inspired poems in the comments are awesome!

  58. I teach creative writing in “under-resourced public schools.” I am SO going to steal this, clean it up a little (can’t swear, even in the under-resourced classroom), and then make my students write a similar response to a piece. Thanks!

  59. Yes, your husband is an asshole for eating your plums. Frankly, had they been Entenmann’s chocolate frosted donuts, I would have taken them ALL, hidden in the bathroom, securely locked the door, and devoured the whole box, leaving no apology and no poem. Beware. Compared to me, your husband is a prince.

  60. I’ve eaten Little A’s Reese’s Easter Bunny.
    Again.
    I kept the box looking sealed because she thinks it’s still in there.
    I am quasi-sorry, only because Kroger doesn’t have them at 75% off anymore.
    (This is not a love poem.)

  61. You have utterly ruined William Carlos Williams for me forever. But in the best way. Also you made my friend Judy pee her pants.

  62. The Year of the Roses – might not suit everybody – downplayed anxiety; downplayed depression; whole lots of family love – and it is very very real in that particular place.

  63. Read between the lines. (Shoot – when am I going to learn to write a draft & wait a minute for my next thought before posting….)

  64. This is just to say I am shamelessly stealing, bowdlerizing (it’s for fourth graders) with attribution, and using this reply in a poetry lesson tomorrow at Creative Writing Camp in Houston. (isn’t that an oxymoron–camp and creative writers do NOT belong in the same sentence . . .) Thanks for the wit and humor–all the time!

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