Sunday, February 5, 2017

On Borderline as Punchline

There is a line in Humor, a border, if you will,
between making fun of the already marginalized
or moments of trancendent defiance. Punching up
vs punching down. A young poet makes a joke
using Borderline Personality as a blunt weapon

to make political haha. The inaccuracy of shooting
from the hip diagnostics aside, he doesn't just miss
the funny, clearly he made no effort to be accurate
either. Ridicule is easy, and that's not even the point.
Let me share how Borderline feels from the inside.

I live my life on the outskirts of Hell, all the time,
and that Hell is me. I know they must have broken
the mold the day I was born, because I came out broken.
Made bad somewhere fated and deep, flawed
crystal, rogue bit of virus code, secret mutant freak.

I live on the borderline of a drought and a volcano,
I call those my emotions. I'm never sure which
place I'll go when I know I'm about to act out, except
I know it will be the wrong one. Because that is
what I am, that is the damage I do with my feelings.

Borderline is living with an infection of phantoms;
a wine-cellar of every hurt ever felt, carefully vintage'd:
the year, the details, the pain fresh again; and helpful notes
like, "True Love, 1985. A deep, heart-stab red, with hints
of dead hopes, faded flowers, and anything crushed."

Borderline is every bad memory gets charged negative,
I'm positive, every time. I attract them by just being me.
Also why I inevitably repel away from anything positive,
without meaning to, because that's how magnets work; also
I do the Math: Life equals a sum I subtract myself from.

I want to end this poem by saying you didn't bother me,
I want to end it by saying I forgive you, by saying go read
a book and learn something. But let's stick to Comedy:
how many dull comedians does it take to make light
about someone else's struggle? This too, is an easy joke,

but I bet you don't want to be a punchline either.

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