Performed at Write Club, June 18, 2013
Shut the front door. Shut the fuck up.
Shut Skateboards. Shut—the movie. Shut Up! Cartoons.
Shut in. Open-and-shut. Shut out. Shut down. Shut off. Shut your eyes to. Shut. Unopened. Closed. Exclude. Keep out.
Is shut totally negative? That depends on what or who is being shut.
Shut the trunk on your daughter’s fingers—not good. Shut your windows when it’s raining so your floor doesn’t get soaked—good. Shut down your friend in a moment of need—not so good. Shut down the naysayers who insult you for not living up to their expectations—
Those naysayers—they stand on toothpick legs and smile their wooden smiles, speak in tinfoil voices, say words like “should” and “supposed to,” they say “you” repeatedly—you shoulda, you’re supposed to, you, you, you—like the word “you” is no longer a pronoun that refers to a human, it is now a tiny, blue racquetball repeatedly smacked into your forehead until the space between the shoulds and the supposed tos and the yous becomes smaller and smaller and you realize as that space constricts that you no longer have time to breathe much less reply, and your toes go numb and your fingers start to tingle the way they do when they’re about to go numb and the ice cold vice of judgment tightens its screws into your skull, and you can see that naysayer, standing like a cocky king at the threshold of the door but instead of recoiling, you march over to the threshold and you grab the door in your shaking hand and you think to yourself—I am a human, I’m not obligated to live up to someone else’s expectations—so with your one last breath, you simply shut the door. On the other side, the naysayer disintegrates. The air is yours again. You breathe easily, freely, in all your glorious you-ness.
Shut is versatile. Shut plays well with other words. Shut feels good coming out of your mouth. Most importantly, when one door shuts, another opens, which means shut gives you a two-for-one deal, which is excellent.