Letter to an Old Poet
Boygenius Lyrics


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I said I think that you're special
You told me once that I'm selfish
And I kissed you hard
In the dark
In the closet

You said my music is mellow
Maybe I'm just exhausted
You think you're a good person
Because you won't punch me in the stomach

And I love you
I don't know why
I just do

But you're not special, you're evil
You don't get to tell me to calm down
You made me feel like an equal
But I'm better than you and you should know that by now

When you fell down the stairs
It looked like it hurt and I wasn't sorry
I should've left you right there
With your hostages, my heart and my car keys
You don't know me

I wanna be happy
I'm ready
To walk into my room without looking for you
I'll go up to the top of our building
And remember my dog when I see the full moon





I can't feel it yet
But I am waiting

Overall Meaning

The Boygenius song "Letter to an Old Poet" is a powerful expression of conflicting emotions and the complexity of relationships. The song begins with the singer expressing their admiration for the recipient, telling them they are special. In response, the recipient accuses the singer of being selfish. Despite this, the singer kisses the recipient passionately, but in secret. The recipient then criticizes the singer's music, but the singer insists that they love them anyway, without knowing why.


Yet, the next verse complicates matters. The singer turns on the recipient, telling them they are not special, but rather evil. The recipient has made the singer feel like an equal, but the singer now claims to be better than them. When the recipient falls down the stairs and looks hurt, the singer feels no sympathy and instead harbors resentment. They are eager to move on from the relationship, claiming they are ready to be happy, but also acknowledging that they are not there yet.


This song is a poignant example of the often confusing, contradictory nature of human emotions and relationships. The singer loves the recipient, but also despises them, often within the same stanza. The song also addresses issues of power and control in relationships, with the recipient accused of holding the singer hostage emotionally and even taking their car keys. In all, "Letter to an Old Poet" provides a raw and visceral exploration of the complexities of human interaction.


Line by Line Meaning

I said I think that you're special
I complimented you by saying that I think you are unique and extraordinary.


You told me once that I'm selfish
You accused me of being concerned only with my own interests and desires.


And I kissed you hard
I kissed you passionately and forcefully.


In the dark
We were in a place with no or very little light.


In the closet
We were hidden or enclosed in a small, private space.


You said my music is mellow
You commented that my music is relaxing and soothing.


Maybe I'm just exhausted
I am possibly worn out or drained due to physical or emotional stress.


You think you're a good person
You have a self-belief that you are a virtuous and righteous human being.


Because you won't punch me in the stomach
You consider yourself to be morally superior because you refrain from physically harming me.


And I love you
I have a deep, emotional attachment and affection towards you.


I don't know why
I am unsure about the reasons behind my feelings for you.


I just do
I simply feel the way I do without having any specific explanations for it.


But you're not special, you're evil
Contrary to my previous statement, you are not unique or exceptional, but rather wicked and immoral.


You don't get to tell me to calm down
You do not have the authority to order me to relax or become less agitated.


You made me feel like an equal
You treated me as if I were on the same level or plane as you in terms of importance or value.


But I'm better than you and you should know that by now
In reality, I am superior to you in some way or aspect, and you should already be aware of this fact.


When you fell down the stairs
At a certain point in time, you had a mishap and experienced a physical fall while on a staircase.


It looked like it hurt and I wasn't sorry
Even though it appeared that you were in pain, I did not feel any sympathy or remorse for you.


I should've left you right there
I realize now that I should have abandoned you at that moment and not continued our relationship.


With your hostages, my heart and my car keys
You had taken custody of my emotions and material possessions and kept them under your control.


You don't know me
Your understanding of who I am is incomplete and lacking.


I wanna be happy
I desire to experience joy and contentment in my life.


I'm ready
I am fully prepared and willing to pursue my happiness.


To walk into my room without looking for you
I anticipate being able to enter my living space without needing or expecting your presence.


I'll go up to the top of our building
I plan to ascend to the highest level of our shared housing structure.


And remember my dog when I see the full moon
When I witness the complete lunar disk, I will reminisce about my canine pet.


I can't feel it yet
I am not currently experiencing the sensation or emotion that I seek.


But I am waiting
I am patiently anticipating the arrival of the happiness and fulfillment I desire.




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
Written by: Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

@Noelia768

I said "I think that you're special"
You told me once that I'm selfish
And I kissed you hard
In the dark, in the closet

You said my music is nallow
Maybe I'm just exhausted
You think you're a good person because you won't punch me
in the stomach

And I love you
I don't know why, I just do
But you're not special, you're evil
You don't get to tell me to calm down
You made me feel like an equal
But I'm better than you
and you should know that by now

When you fell down the stairs
It looked like it hurt and I wasn't sorry
I should've left you right there
With your hostages, my heart and my car keys
You don't know me

I wanna be happy
I'm ready to walk into my room
Without looking for you
Or go onto the top of our building
And remember my dog when I see the full moon

I can't feel it yet
But I am waiting....



All comments from YouTube:

@longdeadcowboybillionaire

THE ME AND MY DOG REFERENCE. LITERALLY SHAKING ON THE FLOOR FOAMING AT THE MOUTH.

@djbddndb2142

YES

@supertiredmerr

Please explain. Im confused

@SPAMLiberationArmy

​@supertiredmerr The lines starting "I wanna be... happy, I'm ready" starts with the same words and then follow the melody as "I wanna be emaciated..." in Me and My Dog.

Also that song (and heavy-sung line) was about the unwanted and ambivalent nostalgia for an uncaring relationship and ended with a desire to dissociate, whereas this song 3 years later is really directly tearing into the same ex and talking about a desire to be happy, so it's an emotional double-whammy if you've heard the other.

@imonitzz

From wanting to be starved to happiness 😩

@nameforcomments4092

I hope you don’t mean “literally” literally, but oh man that was a cool thing they did there.
Edit: Oh god, “and remember my dog when I see the full moon”. I don’t think the dog is still okay, and nor am I after hearing that.

5 More Replies...

@khloeg1649

the change from "i wanna be emaciated" to "i wanna be happy" is making me go crazy
the GROWTH

@Dani__Happy

the way i SOBBED when i heard "I wanna be....". Me and my dog means so much to me, I listened to it a lot during a rough year, and hearing the end of this song made me so hopeful for the future i cant even explain it

@alexmay3543

came here to say the exact same thing 🥺 I can't wait to listen to this 100 times a day along with Me and My Dog. Sending peace to you, friend

@viktoria1650

I feel the same way! I was so depressed when their first record came out but now I'm healing and actually want to get better. So this is so so beautiful to hear. I WANNA BE HAPPY!

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