forget the fuck away from me
In forget the fuck away from me, Jessie Lynn McMains uses a variety of poetic forms and tactics to discuss the ‘90s and their memories of that decade. In these poems (three previously published, seven brand new), McMains (an old Millenial/young Gen X-er, aka Xennial) writes about everything from identity to crushes, trauma and mental illness to hanging out at the mall. Laid out like a zine, and featuring more ‘90s pop culture and musical references than you can shake a mixtape at, the ten poems ftfafm is nostalgic without being overly sentimental. Recommended for anyone who just barely survived their teenage years and anyone who (sometimes) misses the ‘90s.
I fell so easy & so often the padlocked chains I wore
could not protect my fragile heart & when my poems
slammed into the spotlight at the cafe open mic
in a nervous caffeine stutter I said fuck you I’m Allen
Ginsberg’s daughter said fuck you I was just a geek
in smalltown U.S.A. but the cute librarian Ramonesed
me, got me singing hey little girl I wanna be the next
Cometbus writing zines about stomp-dancing to L7
in blacklit bedrooms stoned flirting with girls in holey
jeans & hi-top Chucks
-from "forget the fuck away from me (origin stories of a safety pin girl)"
Make me pray, to say love’s confines, oh I’m just another rider
burned to the ground. I’m a liar and a thief amongst the rubble of her
body, so she fills up her sails with my wasted breath. I’d like to hear
a little guitar. Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld—I’ve searched
the holy books, it’s likely they’re just jealous and jaded. The days
and nights are long. Birds fly by a.m. In her bedroom stare, the moon
is a lightbulb breaking. Where all the bodies hang on the air, wanna get
into a car and go? Anywhere?
-from "So I Can Sigh Eternally (Sad Boy Cento)"
Praise for forget the fuck away from me
If you want to know how important and iconic forget the fuck away from me is, turn to the title of the poem 'You Might Be An Xennial If' - if this book feels like black coffee on your rainiest day; if these poems are a spiky hug to your troubled inner youth from someone who knows; if McMains's recollection, rewinding, reworking of their 90s subculture life - at once extremely personal, yet immediately recognisable - is the book you needed at the time, but no one could have possibly written yet. For me, and no doubt many others, this chapbook is all of the above. For anyone else, you will read it and understand. The nostalgia is strong, but more importantly, so is the ache.
-Kate Garrett, poet and editor; author of The saint of milk and flames (Rhythm & Bones Press) and You've never seen a doomsday like it (Indigo Dreams Press)
This exploration is one-part ripped fishnet & one-part safety pin, fusing academic craft elements of poetics with the DiY ethos of 90s Riot Grrl/Grunge/Punk scenes. Forget the Fuck Away from Me uses source material that will feel familiar to readers who lived the 90s, as well as those who lived on the edges (or in the shadow of) a generation that watched everything go up (or down) in flames. Here, you’ll find punk-rock centos, re-imaginings of memory, and an exploration—both outward and inward—of the disconnect between the multiple selves we become as we get older, and how to co-exist with all our own dualities, contradictions, and the ways we’ve committed that worst 90’s sin, “sold out.” To paraphrase a quote from the film The World’s End, "Let the [adult] you have become be the [teenager] you were," with the poems of Forget the Fuck Away from Me.
-Allie Marini, writer; author of Here Comes Hell (dancing girl press) and Southern Cryptozoology (Hyacinth Girl Press)
The poems in Forget the Fuck Away From Me are as uneven as the 90s were and it’s why they feel good. Jessie Lynn McMains isn’t trying to paint the time as something it was or wasn’t; in truth, the decade still doesn’t know what it was – but as with any of us from the time, identity is irrelevant in survival mode. Everyone needed a distraction or was one, and that’s where this collection is most honest: the 90s was about getting in and out of moments, feeling something – even if it hurt.
-Rachel Nix, poet; editor at cahoodaloodaling, Screen Door Review, and Hobo Camp Review