Poets’ Thursday Review: Friend zone

Poets' Thursday

This is a beautiful poem in its simplicity. No grand convoluted words, not a lot of flowery terms, not like there’s anything wrong with those. In my opinion, the beauty and comprehension of poetry is not robbed by its lexicon, but by its composition.

When I saw the title and saw who the writer is, I instinctively thought it was going to be some smug piece from a tale as old as time, of the male who eternally crushed on the female, and never got the girl. Imagine my surprise when the first few lines disabused me of that thought. The character – this girl – was the one who was in love with a man she could never have.

the opening of the verse,

On the last day of our meeting’,

raises a lot of questions

The issue I have with the poem however is the misuse of tenses. The past and present continuous tenses kept interchanging, confusing the narrative for me. The tenses in any write-up, poem or prose, is very important to me. I’m almost OCD about it. When one starts a narrative with the past tense, it’s only proper to see that through to the end. The same applies with the present continuous, which by the way, I thought would’ve been a more perfect tense for this poem. However, the writer kept throwing in her ‘walked’ and ‘walks’ in together, constantly disturbing the pace of my reading.

Secondly, I garnered from the lines: ‘My journal my confidante / Knows the excitement with which I fill the pages that bear your name / Dear journal, I start, we shared an apple…’ that this was the narration of a lovesick woman pouring her heart out into the pages of her diary. In other words, she would be talking about him, the man she desired but who didn’t want her the same way. But every so often, the writer kept interchanging ‘he’ with ‘you’.

Alas he took out a shiny coin, and we talked about his love for antiques…

I fantasized about our honeymoon as my teeth dug into the apple you fed me / Through my feeble protest, I let you continue

This lovesick girl had to either be writing into her diary ABOUT the man or TO the man. It’s the little things like this that should maintain a constancy in write-ups, to forestall flustering the reader or interrupting the rhythm of his/her reading.

Thirdly, there was that concluding verse:

On the last day of our meeting

He walks up to me

Meet my heart beat, he says

And here is my bestie, I hear him say

I fought the tears once again

Walking away from the romantic duo

I heard a voice in my head say

He was never yours from the beginning.

This was clearly the defining moment of this girl’s heartbreak, when the love of her life (who just so happened to be her best friend) introduced her to the love of his life. I love the ending. That still, small voice, that sagacious voice of reason and common sense in every human being, telling her what she should have known all along: that, honey, you’ve being friend-zoned.

But the opening of the verse, ‘On the last day of our meeting’, raises a lot of questions:

Are they not best friends, why should this be their last meeting?

Was she going on a trip to Brazil, far, far away from him?

Was she walking away from him simply because she didn’t end up getting him?

Did their friendship mean that little to her, that she would let her unrequited feelings ruin it?

It wasn’t his fault she felt things for him that he couldn’t reciprocate, so why punish him by making this the last day of their meeting?

Is this how all women react when their male friends friend-zone them?

Should they not learn to be more like men who stick around and keep hoping to get the girl one day?

Should I be worried about losing any of my female friends who may be eyeing me but whose eyes I’m not catching?

Is this friend-zoning thing not just a bitch?

Can someone please answer these questions as it is a matter of life and death?



By Walter Shakespearean Ude

Walter is an award winning Nigerian Writer, Poet and Veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word, the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter. He writes at http://www.mymindsnaps.com/

For a chance to have your poem published and reviewed on this space, attach it to a mail titled ‘Poets’ Thursday’ and send to wordsarework@gmail.com. It does not have to be right, left, or wrong … just your poem.

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10 replies added

  1. Chizzy December 11, 2015 Reply

    I woke up yesterday and my hand ‘ran’ to my phone. It’s review day and I was anxious to know who my reviewer will be and most importantly what he/she will say.
    I breathed a sigh of relief momentarily when I scrolled down and saw it was Walter, thy however was shortlived.

    Walter, I agree with several points you raised here. I will work on the narrative and tenses of subsequent poems.
    Also, the girl was not running to the Brazil or the end of the world. She just felt it was best to give them space and spare herself some more heart ache.
    Thanks for a wonderful review

    • Walter December 13, 2015 Reply

      Lol. Chizzy, you wrote this? Lol. Chai. No vex. I was on my period when I was reviewing it. And the pharmacy had run out of sanitary pads.

      • Chisom December 13, 2015 Reply

        Hehehehe … nwa Ude, iwukwanu okpo sometimes. Period indeed. LOOOL

      • Chizzy December 14, 2015 Reply

        There are alternatives to Sanitary Pads sha.
        I loved the review. You did a good work. And Nwa Ojukwu is right, you turned the review to a good read.

  2. Chisom December 13, 2015 Reply

    Wally, this is a great review, in my opinion. None of it was overdone – the praise was well deserved, the ‘whipping’ was mellow and also deserved, and the ‘re-praise’ was spot on. And the way you ended it … kai! I mean, how many people do you know who can take a review and turn it into a beautiful read?! Mehnn, just take it biko, you badt. *drops mic*

  3. Uncle Phil December 13, 2015 Reply

    Thanks Walter and Cece for being the badt guys who help make us better. You are actually taking one for the team. I wish your skills get even sharper, and you have the courage to give honest appraisals everytime.
    Hmmm, Chizzy… About the WAW zone…
    I love to play a lot with poetry and tried something a while ago, it didn’t quite come out right, but the idea is to get 2 people to write one poem, like a conversation. (Why do I feel like Chisom would like this idea, lol)
    Its sort of like a back and forth thing, the point it to display 2 distinct styles in one piece (I love food! Like moi moi and garri lol)
    Just saying…

    • Chisom December 13, 2015 Reply

      That compliment is very well deserved, Uncle Phil. I hope Walter and Cece are reading. Daalu nwune.

      And about this convo-poem thingy, you KNOW I like the idea. Phil and Chizzy, let’s have this discussion nah, whaddya say???

  4. Chidike December 23, 2015 Reply

    Beautiful review for a beautiful poem. Walter…big UPS. UNCLE PHIL…I love that idea! I’ll love to see it wear flesh

    • Chisom December 24, 2015 Reply

      Me too oh. We’re waiting very patiently … for a while, then we’ll start waiting unpatiently. lol. Thank you, Chidike, for reading and commenting

  5. Chidike December 24, 2015 Reply

    You are welcome….Chizzy is good, I love her work. Words are work finally.

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