“Love, I’m Done with You” by Ross Gay: A Poem Analysis

Love, I’m Done with You by Ross Gay shows the poet’s feelings after escaping from his partner. He realizes how wretched their relationship was and everything he liked about his beloved was an illusion. Gay sees all the flaws of his partner, which he did not pay attention to before. The poem consists of 27 continuous lines, written in one stanza and free verse. The lines do not rhyme with each other, and they do not have consistent metric patterns; instead, they fly freely across the page. However, it does not mean that the creation is completely devoid of structure. First of all, the poem is attracted by the expressive composition of writing, in which the author’s thoughts are transmitted without filters and clear punctuation marks. Gay uses a variation of enjambement, the contre-rejet, in which the beginning of a sentence captures the end of the previous verse. The mismatch of the poetic lines’ border creates the effect of a discrepancy between the rhythmic and syntactic structure of the text and thereby gives a feeling of metric speed. The poem of Gay means epiphany, the inadmissibility of false relationships, and the necessity for them to bring happiness; otherwise, they need to be completed.

The poem begins with the narrator directly addressing the readers with three rhetorical questions, the answer to which is that he is not happy. This awareness is integral to understanding why he should leave the relationship behind. Using the questions “You ever wake up with your footie PJs warming your neck like a noose? Ever upchuck after a home-cooked meal?” the author uses literary techniques of contradistinctions (Gay, “Love, I’m Done with You”). Positive associations with PJs warming and a home-cooked meal are distorted by negative such as a noose around the neck or vomiting, thereby helping him describe the discomfort in the past. The author mentions freedom in the line “Freedom! You’d say: and I never really knew what that meant” (Gay, “Love, I’m Done with You”). It also shows a lack of joy in his life during this period.

Currently, Gay received his sight and saw that his relationship was false. He applies leitmotif, using the image of a stinky breath: “I’d push my downy face into your neck. Used to be I hung on your every word”, but now he can tell “your breath stinks” (Gay, “Love, I’m Done with You”). This repetitive detail arises as a way to say that he overlooked her lies before, but now he sees all the flaws that he ignored. Gay also uses a literary repetition technique in which the writer repeatedly employs the phrase “used to be”. Thus, he emphasizes that the feeling of dissatisfaction accumulated in him for a long time, as a result that finally, he could see his sight. The poet utilized these lines to show his relationship and moment of epiphany, after which he changes their direction and focuses on his partner’s personality flaws and the falsity of love.

In the last part of the poem, Gay describes in a long list how their love had a favorable appearance but was rotten on the inside, which ultimately prompted him to break it. The author uses many metaphors, including: “you helped design the brick that built the walls around the castle in the basement of which is a vault inside of which is another vault” (Gay, “Love, I’m Done with You”). This technique demonstrates the partner’s insufficient emotional availability and the presence of barriers between them. In addition, applying enjambment and repetition increases the speed of the poem. The author accelerates to illustrate how false his partner was. Eventually, the straightforward and short phrase “We’re through” says that the poet is finally parting with his beloved (Gay, “Love, I’m Done with You”). It is grammatically isolated and represents an example of the caesura, a rhythmic pause in verse, emphasizing it and proclaiming its end and the termination of the relationship.

Another poem by Ross Gay, Sorrow is Not My Name narrates about finding joy in the midst of despair. Its main idea is that the bad should not be the only teacher, and the good things should be noticed. The concept of death through the phrase “the skeleton in the mirror” is contrasted with the idea of life and its joys: “But look; my niece is running through a field calling my name” (Gay, “Sorrow is Not My Name”). While Love, I’m Done with You carries the message of epiphany and the necessity for relationships to be happy; otherwise, they need to end. Thereby, pain can also be a teacher, along with joy. In particular, it can instruct that it does not need to endure a relationship that has become toxic, during which a person does not know what freedom is. Both poems were mainly created with the knowledge that life is filled with difficulties. Simultaneously, pain and joy do not contradict each other but complement; one in some cases leads to another, and conversely.

Works Cited

Gay, Ross. ““. Poetry Foundation, Web.

Gay, Ross. ““. Poetry Foundation, 2020. Web.

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