February 3, 2014

When Life Gives us Heartbreak, Write Bad Poetry.

BethAnne Kapansky

These three things I believe:

1) Breakups are very painful.

2) Writing is cathartic.

3) Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

All three are the inspiration for this tribute to bad poetry that was penned during a “post break up/ the sky is falling” phase last summer. I stumbled across dozens of gems the other day and couldn’t decide whether to cringe or laugh at the mutilated anger and heartache strewn throughout my incredibly dramatic, infinitely pathetic words. I figure, though I may be convicted on charges of terrible prose and dreadful imagery, nobody will ever accuse me of minimizing my feelings or struggling with the art of self expression.

In a nod to sarcasm, humor and the importance of laughing at oneself, I thought I would share a few choice excerpts, and tip my hat to bad poetry, written by heart sunk writers everywhere—may we all find happier hearts and better words.

Bad Poetry

When life hands you douche bags

Write bad poetry


I’m out of luck

You clearly suck

And you can just go




When life hands you heartbreak

Write bad poetry


Some days I think that I might be

the very saddest girl in the world

and if I could take the bits

and pieces of my splintered heart

and make a tiny canoe

to sail away on the pool of tears

collecting at my weary feet,

I would long be gone for happier waters.


When life hands you an assclown on the rocks

Write bad poetry


my broken pieces

strewn about


a heart with chamber

fallen out


half numb inside

my feet do walk


this waking dead

does smile and talk


When life hands you a bottle of Crapple Snapple

Write bad poetry


they told me to move on

as the ruder in my heart

sputtered pitilessly

and I wondered

how one can gain


when they are

dead in the water

and the tide of

yesterday keeps

sweeping in




to the

mire where

naught waits but

ghosts who walk the

empty halls of heartache

beating broken spoons of

regret against tired drums.


(Whoa. Ghosts beating spoons on drums…Really?)


When life hands you an ass in a hat

Write bad poetry


You squeezed my heart

leaving a tart dried peel

as you sipped my lemonade

and scattered my seeds


When life hands you a dick in a box

Write bad poetry


If I could unwind the latch

and open the door of my tinman heart,

take out the mangled mass

of corroded metal and

throw it at your feet

with empty, sonorous clang,

would that tell you how I am?


And if you should happen to write enough bad poetry, as you heave those mangled masses of soul onto a pitiless, emotionally unavailable word document, you might find that somewhere in the process things begin to shift and catharsis occurs. You start to realize that the river will eventually find its way, and life really does know what is best. As you keep writing your way through every tear-stained, sad, little word, you notice that one day you go to write and those terrible words are no longer there.

While you were working so hard to let go and create new space in your life, something better came along…


When life hands you a new beginning

Write good poetry


These days I am learning to hold the hand

of my younger self and say:

There there my dear one,

your dreams were simply too small.

You ask for a pretty painted shell

when life wants to give you the ocean.

You ask for a picket fence

when life wants to leave you free

to run your wild horses.

You ask for a star

on a neglected downtrodden boulevard

when life has already prepared

a place for you to light up the sky.

You ask for love

when life wants to show you

what it is to be consumed with love

and set fire to this world with your flames.*


It’s true. Though, sometimes an unavoidable part of the human experience, we are not here to stare at a computer screen with a hurting heart and cry over sad words night after night. We are here to live life fully and completely and set fire to the world with our flames. I must confess though, while our good words have the power to set the world on fire, sometimes it really is a lot more fun to write bad poetry.


the end has now come

therefore I wrote this haiku

to bid you adieu.


*Author’s note—I’m allowed to call that last bit good poetry, since much to my happy surprise, the piece it came from was accepted for publication back in November. And if they thought it was good, well then C is for Cookie. That’s good enough for me.


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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Author’s own

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