To Write in an Ugly Way

Ariana Reines Poetry Lit Literature

The poetry of Ariana Reines, of which I’ve written over the last two weeks, can sometimes feel eerily adolescent. Eery because her poetry is very adult in its intelligence, but pubescent in its affected interactions with the world. To me, it is the poetic version of the hit HBO series “Girls.”

Drunk sex lives around the corner from Reines’s smart, prose-like poems. The following piece is a good example of this:


Formalism and grammar are ways to be thin.

Emotions and their consolidation

In infants are ways to be women.

Thin women are ways to see the world.

A medium is a device through which a world makes itself known or seen or heard.

The world touches me in the middle of myself where I am neither hot or cold.

When I feel mildly bad but not bad enough I have to drink till I can’t stand up

And then eat when I’m sick to stay down. When you tell me how

Desperately you love me I need it from you just the way you give it to me

Even though I take it graciously and pretend to be overwhelmed

I am not overwhelmed. I can take everything you are coming at me with.

My appetite.

I want it. When I am here

To say what I have to be

In my own special way is part of my problem

Being the favorite thing I know how to do.

Writing beautifully made me feel like a fake

Which is part of feeling like a person.

I began to write in an ugly way

To subtract myself from womanhood and see only

A person in bas-relief with crucial parts and cartoon

Grief. Grooming and fashion make a seduction

To hide the horrors of the day.

I have to be bad to be this way. I will give it up for you.

I think I am ready to. I want to be sick over something else

And act like another kind of person, a writer

With ideas, not selves, a woman with values

More than scars and years and you know

Um tears.

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