Listen to Tony Hoagland reading this poem. 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.
Tony Hoagland's most recent book of poems is What Narcissism Means to Me.
Clickhere to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.To submit poetry to Slate, send up to five poems and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Robert Pinsky, Slate Magazine, Boston University, 236 Bay State Road, Boston, MA, 02215.