Not Spectacular Phoenix

I am not spectacular
I’m only a poet
When I write, you read
When I speak, you listen
Consider me a given
Consider me as life
Love it or hate it,
It still happen to you.

I don’t need your permission
For when I breathe,
You will inhale some of that breath
Unless you choke me
All the way to death
I will never stop breathing
I will never stop speaking
I will never stop crawling
Under your skin.

The Quiet Power of “Not Spectacular”

The poem “Not Spectacular” possesses a raw and assertive spirit that demands attention. It challenges conventional notions of what it means to have value and to leave an imprint upon the world.

Defying Expectations

The poem begins by deliberately undercutting itself. The speaker declares, “I am not spectacular / I’m only a poet.” This self-effacement seems designed to subvert our expectation of grandiosity or self-promotion. Yet, a current of defiance quickly takes over.

The Unavoidable Nature of Influence

The following lines assert the speaker’s presence on almost biological terms: “When I breathe, you will inhale some of that breath.” The poem suggests that even the most basic human acts have ripples. We exist within a shared world, making influence inevitable, regardless of whether it’s recognized or desired.

The poem escalates this idea: “I will never stop crawling under your skin.” This bold image is not necessarily about likability, but of a presence that refuses to be ignored.

Agency vs. Approval

“Not Spectacular” draws a line between asserting one’s agency and craving external validation. The speaker declares, “I don’t need your permission.” The actions of writing, speaking, and even breathing are presented as inherent rights. Whether met with “love or hate,” the act of living itself is a form of impact.

Exploring Specific Lines

We can analyze lines that are particularly striking or open to multiple interpretations. Here are a couple of examples:

  • “Consider me a given / Consider me as life”: This line challenges the reader. Is the speaker simply asserting an undeniable presence? Is there an element of demanding respect for the seemingly unremarkable aspects of existence? Is it a commentary on how easily we take life for granted?
  • “Unless you choke me / all the way to death”: This violent image introduces a sense of vulnerability and potential conflict. Does this highlight the power others have to silence a voice, or is the speaker emphasizing an unwavering will to continue, regardless of opposition?

Comparisons to Works with Similar Themes

“Not Spectacular” resonates with several poetic traditions and specific works, including:

  • Whitman’s “Song of Myself”: Walt Whitman’s celebration of the self in its vastness and contradictions shares a similar defiance with “Not Spectacular.” Both poems insist on the significance of the individual voice.
  • Protest Poetry: The assertive tone and the challenge to dismiss the speaker’s presence could align with the tradition of protest poetry, where marginalized voices demand to be acknowledged and heard.
  • Confessional Poets: While less explicitly personal, the raw intensity and psychological undercurrents in “Not Spectacular” may spark comparisons to the Confessional poets, such as Sylvia Plath, who explored themes of identity and internal struggle.

Thought-Provoking Questions

The poem challenges us to consider:

  • The Invisible Impacts: What often-unsung actions, small or large, have shaped your own life? How have seemingly “ordinary” people influenced you?
  • Owning Your Existence: In what ways might you be underestimating your own ability to influence your surroundings? How could you embody greater agency in your own actions, regardless of external praise?
  • The Nature of Legacy: Does leaving a mark always require spectacle? What are more subtle ways in which we live on in the choices of others, even those unknown to us?

The Value of an Unassuming Voice

“Not Spectacular” does not flatter the reader or offer easy answers. It’s a prickly, assertive piece that highlights the complexities of how we exist in the world. Its power lies in provoking uncomfortable reflection on our own agency and our often-underestimated interconnectedness.

Become a patron at Patreon!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

<a href="" target="_self">English Plus</a>

English Plus


English Plus Podcast is dedicated to bring you the most interesting, engaging and informative daily dose of English and knowledge. So, if you want to take your English and knowledge to the next level, look no further. Our dedicated content creation team has got you covered!

You may also Like

Recent Posts


Follow Us

Pin It on Pinterest