Poetry these days, whether viewed in print or listened to at readings, falls into just two basic categories. They are: come-to-me poetry and go-to-you poetry. This is not a reductive “characterization,” it is rather a hard-nosed, no-bones look at specifications—a spec check. Come-to-me, go-to-you, how much of each. Hybrids are cool. But how much of each—in each.

Everyone knows über come-to-me poetry. It usually comes from an über come-to-me poet, but not always. Similarly, most everyone has experienced the spectacle of ultra go-to-you poetry, usually dished out by an ultra go-to-you poet, but not always.

Go-to-you often has conceived of a plan in advance to stay clear out of the way of his or her go-to-you poetry—for you. This is done—for you, hence, go-to-you poetry.

Come-to-me has opened the front, the back, the side door, all bedroom windows, the attic escape hatch; the garage door has been completely removed. Come-to-me has something to say—in the confines of his or her—house—not yours, not your house, hence come-to-me. 

Go-to-you…has stayed clear out of the way, way out of the way. Where is go-to-you, as a matter of fact? Back home? Where?

Come-to-me…got so needy to have someone come-to-him/her that come-to-me evacuated the house in a kind of a panic, then, when up the block, it resolutely turned around and, well, came-to-him (or her), which is the same him or her as left with such haste, but there it is: ultra-über tactical.

Fuck-you-both poetry, though not that well known, has been around as long as the other two. But the problem fuck-you-both poets have is—a real estate problem. Fuck-you-both—is a renter. But, fuck-you-both can enjoy a kind of celebrity on occasion, that is, when people are sick to death of come-to-me and go-to-you, and, if fuck-you-both—has paid the rent.

Fuck-me poetry is even less known, or rather, less detectible than the other three. Fuck-me poets you would think would abound like Hydrogen in this Universe, all over the fucking place, and extremely combustible, given their name, the immediacy of their desire, their declared intent, but no, fuck-me’s are as rare as kryptonite. Yet Fuck-me’s need neither come-to-me housing nor the “anti-limelight” of go-to-you wholesale warehouse merchandising. Fuck-me’s can be found sitting at the very back of every poetry reading. Fuck-me’s have been known to interact well with doormen, janitorial staffers, and “poet’s theater” types.

Originally Published: April 6th, 2012

Raised in southern California, experimental poet, playwright, and labor activist Rodrigo Toscano's experimental work often takes the form of conversation and physical movement that interrogates, and crosses, borders: the border between poetic and political action, between the made thing and its making, between speech and theater, between languages, between social...