wrong. (poem)

April 28, 2011

So after reading Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf, I remembered all the poems I used to write. I was getting pretty good! And then, I focused on songwriting and forgot the joy of expressing myself in free verse. It used to be liberating, cathartic and thrilling. So this is the first poem I have written in a long time – I have promised myself that I am going to get back into writing poetry, and hopefully I will improve my skills again (I feel somewhat rusty and I am sure I will reread this and cringe!). But this poem is dedicated to myself and to anybody else (everybody else) who has ever felt this way – I hope you can all empathise.


i’m so tired of being wrong
it wears me down like a stone
i try and do right by myself and by you
but as long as i’m ok with me
that’s what matters

what do you get from pointing out my faults
does being right keep you warm at night
can you take your criticisms of me and sell them on the market
to put coins in your pocket?
if one-upping me gives you life
then i wish you had more to live for

because i’m so used to being wrong
i’m exhausted by it
and paranoid about it
sitting duck, easy target
feel like my default position
i’m so used to it
that i realised
i am no poorer for it

your yardstick does not measure my success
and for every small victory you claim
while you’re intent on keeping me down
i’m focusing my energy on keeping me up
afloat and moving
the days are hard enough to get through
without competing for the prize of gain-saying you
you can have all that
because: newsflash!
my life is not for sale or accreditation

i’m working on being alright with me
and if you would rather be right
then i will choose to be all right
through my expertise in being wrong
i am learning to be strong


  1. thats not a bad poem, mate, keep it up. i’ve recently started writing poetry but more interested in keeping the rhyme rather simple, keeping the verse interesting and entertaining, if you lke blurring the lin between poetry and prose… i dunno, call it sto-etry if needs be 🙂 Keep it up anyway.

  2. Nice poem Chase!

  3. can i ask what u look for in a poem in terms of getting the readers attention?

    • Hi 🙂 I think that when I write poems, just as when I am reading them, a powerful title which encapsulates the concept explored in the poem goes a long way. So a striking title, or a thought-provoking title (I personally tend to like one-word statements) is a good way to grab attention.

      I also love a poem that I can relate to – even if it talks about things that I haven’t personally lived through, I need to be able to empathise with the poem’s voice and to get inside the skin of whoever’s narrating the poem. That’s why when I write, I tend to try and write poetry in a way that is accessible to readers (which is why I often walk a blurred line between poetry and prose). I think that a powerful thing is to be honest and frank, without necessarily decorating your language with superfluous devices. Some poets are very good at using technical devices and embellishments and I believe that is honestly beautiful and has its place. I tend to use them more when writing lyrics, as I have to fit lyrics to rhythms, melodies, scansion and rhyme – but a danger with these devices is that I don’t like thinking “now what rhymes with such-and-such” or “what is a three-syllable word that means such-and-such” because then I feel like the wordplay can overpower the message, and I don’t really feel that technicality should overshadow meaning. For me personally, I prefer a strong conceit / topic of discussion that provokes my thought and allows me to really see things from the narrator’s perspective, and thus challenge my own opinions and perceptions – but in terms of grabbing the reader’s attention, I / they have to be bothered to actually read and consider the poem – there’s no substitute for that at the end of the day! I hope that makes sense!

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