E.E. Cummings Month: a total stranger one black day knocked living the hell out of me


a total stranger one black day
knocked living the hell out of me —

who found forgiveness hard because
my(as it happened)self he was

— but now that fiend and i are such
immortal friends the other’s each.

(E.E. Cummings, “Poem 58”. 95 Poems, New York: Harcourt, 1958.)

“It is the curse of mankind that these polar twins should be constantly struggling.” — Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Perfect for the issues dealt with in this poem, am I right? Have you ever roundhoused yourself and been totally gobsmacked by your own behavior? I should think we all have, at some point (not all of us as acutely as Mr. Anon. and Tyler Durden, here). You think you have it under control but you have that Other You that just up and emerges. Look out for That Guy.

If you let him out a bit at a time, then he is mainly manageable, but, if you shut him down everytime he has something he wants to express, and you’re constantly repressing him, then when he gets out, there’s no telling what he’ll do and say. The harder you hold That Guy back, the worse That Guy behaves when he gets loose. I’m not pulling this from the air: I’m speaking from experience. If you want to befriend the fiend, you’ve got to first want to do it, and second do it by degrees. Any other method ends badly. Very badly.

I’m thinking of starting a “Fight Club Friday” feature. But I apologize in advance if it doesn’t get off the ground right away. I’m both cautious and lazy.

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2 Responses to “E.E. Cummings Month: a total stranger one black day knocked living the hell out of me”

  1. intRvenous Says:

    Best…movie…ever.

  2. pieces of me Says:

    great poem, great movie!

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