Yesterday a friend of mine told me he wasn’t going to read my poetry, because he wasn’t interested in it, but that he was happy for me that I was.

Disregarding the fact that I devoted my life to it, and pursued a terminal degree in it that for years has cost me more than I can summarize, I told him that’s okay, that friends don’t have to like everything about each other in order to be friends, in order to be family, and I think I’m right.

I mean, did my father stop liking me because I lit the kitchen counter on fire and made a basketball-size hole in it when I was 6 and wanted to see how powerful his lighter could be?

And what about the time in high school I urinated down the chimney in a friend’s attic beside said friend who was urinating alongside me? Did he unfriend me?

Then there was the time in elementary school I was asked by my friends to beat up a new kid on the block as some initiatory rite of passage, and a couple of days afterward we were hugging each other like brothers training to slay an evil parent warlord.

It was only a couple of weeks ago a friend asked me if I’d go out to the bar with some other friends of his and I told him no thank you, because going out and socializing and being around people in public just really wasn’t my thing, so, can I blame anyone for not liking my poetry or not wanting to read it?

And besides, I’d rather my friend tell me my poetry is something they can’t stand the taste of, but decide to take one bite of once in a while because it’s the polite thing, because they love me, then pretend to like it and end up resenting me for it. But I still worry about their not liking what I most care about, and what that might mean.

In so many words, I tell him most things come down to a matter of taste anyway, because not everything has to taste good all the time for life to be good, because imagine if we were all the same and so on, and he agrees.

And I think there’s a way I can allow this disappointment to inform my writing so that I can deepen my relatability with my non-poetry reading audience, ultimately, I tell myself. But then I allow for a moment of silence just to see if I buy my own point of view, and I’m pretty sure I do.

I ask him if he remembers the time we went hiking and almost abandoned each other when we had different ideas about what needed to happen first once we found camp,

but how by the next morning we were both apologizing for being stupid and became better friends because of it, and he says oh yes.

In fact, I think if we hadn’t been on each other like that and afterward realized the importance of forgiveness, I’m not sure we’d still like each other, and I’m not sure I would have become this halfway decent poet you don’t like to read.

3 thoughts on “Rejection

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