Or is it? Words have the power to move us, motivate us, bring us to tears. But only sticks and stones can break our bones. So where does that leave us?
Treading carefully. Artfully balancing words and meaning and sometimes having to apologize.
I will never say I hate someone unless I really do hate them. I would get no pleasure from it, and it would likely be the last thing I say to them. But I get great pleasure from hating many, many things. Like mosquitoes, bad liars, violence, small mindedness, mushrooms, waiting in line.
Depending on the day and my mood, I hate sidewalk hogs, slow walkers, stupid questions, the manic laughter of radio announcers, homeless people with pets, the way grapes get sticky, small dogs, women who can’t walk in their high-heels, Ed Hardy t-shirts, paper cuts, food trends, like flavoured salt and sliders, shared-food plates that come with uneven numbers of items… I could go on.
And I enjoy my hatred, my loathing of these things. It makes me feel superior and powerful. And then it passes, the mood or the day, a gentleness takes over, and I get great pleasure out of feeling patience around what almost made me kill a perfect stranger the day before.
Like anything else, a little healthy hate is okay. But no one makes it more steamy and sexy than Tony Hoagland. Read on…
Hate Hotel by Tony Hoagland
Sometimes I like to think about the people I hate.
I take my room at the Hate Hotel, and I sit and flip
through the heavy pages of the photographs,
the rogue's gallery of the faces I loathe.
My lamp of resentment sputters twice, then comes on strong,
filling the room with its red light.
That's how hate works—it thrills you and kills you
with its deep heat. Sometimes I like to sit and soak
in the Jacuzzi of my hate, hatching my plots
like a general running his hands over a military map—
and my bombers have been sent out
over the dwellings of my foes,
and are releasing their cargo of ill will
on the targets below, the hate bombs falling in silence
into the lives of the hate-
recipients. From the high window of my office
in the Government of Hate,
where I stay up late, working hard,
where I make no bargains, entertain no
scenarios of reconciliation,
I watch the hot flowers flare up all across
the city, the state, the continent—
I sip my soft drink of hate on the rocks
and let the punishment go on unstopped,
—again and again I let hate
get pregnant and give birth
to hate which gets pregnant
and gives birth again--
and only after I feel that hate
has trampled the land, burned it down
to some kingdom come of cautery and ash,
only after it has waxed and waned and waxed all night,
only then can I let hate
creep back in the door. Curl up at my feet
and sleep. Little pussycat hate. Home sweet hate.