the words are for you, mr. williams (only for you)

Ever since reading ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ in my first year of AP English, I have fallen absolutely and irrevocably in love with Tennessee Williams and the characters he so vibrantly painted in a play that reads like poetry. As such, Mr. Williams has had a massive hold over me, and has influenced my writing in more ways than I can understand–it seems as though everything I write, every poem that drips from me like rain, every story or play–everything echoes of him. He brought into existence the character and being of Blanche DuBois, and for that I will always be indebted to him; never have I ever felt so connected to a fictitious being before, in all my years of existence, nor have I ever loved one with such unwavering passion and blind ferocity.

I see pieces of myself in her.                                       

Fragments of wishes and echoes of certain desires. A want for magic at the expense of realism. The tendency to run from reality because reality has never been kind. An aversion to light. She spoke my truth before I ever even knew what that truth was, and in ways I did not know it was possible to speak. She spoke to me in my entirety; mind and heart, body and soul, woman to woman, and for this reason I have always felt something of a connection to both Blanche and Mr. Williams, for I have always had the feeling, in the most bizarre and intangible way, that he wrote these words for me. (And only for me.)

About three months ago, I was going through (still am going through) what most people would call an identity crisis. This period of displacement followed the ending of a one-act show I was in, called Frankenstein, which was based on the book by Mary Shelley.

The role of Victoria Frankenstein haunted me. I missed her terribly. Felt lost without her. Unfinished. Empty. Everywhere I went it seemed that her essence followed me, and I found it harder and harder to force myself to say goodbye to this woman I had worked so hard to create. Everything I did echoed of her. It was like I didn’t know who I was without her.

Just today, when my drama teacher was talking about her experience acting in ‘Misery’, a wickedly dark play by Stephan King, someone asked her,

“Did you not find yourself being so affected by such a dark role that you were consumed by it?”

To which she answered that at first she was–that she would perform the play but have no recollection of it. That it was almost as though she had blacked out.

“That’s not the way to perform,” she said. “You should have enough of yourself with you on stage that you are able to remember performing it.”

And that’s when it dawned on me–in every character I have ever played, and particularly with Frankenstein–I have completely lost myself. In every show I have ever been in, I have ‘blacked out’ in the way she described–I only remember taking the first step out into the stage lights in the beginning, and taking my bows at the end–but everything else in between–all of it–has been lost on me, and I have become so consumed by the people I pretend to be, losing myself so completely, that I don’t know who I am when the show ends.

And that’s why I loved (love) it; because I escape from myself.

Image result for blanche duboisIt’s something that Blanche and I have in common–running from ourselves, I mean. Because we don’t want realism–we want magic! And for me, the only place that magic exists is in theatre; it’s a vanishing act, if you will. For when I pretend to be other people, I seem to just disappear. 

Probably for my whole life, but increasingly more and more in the last five or six years, I’ve felt as though I keep waiting for some part of myself that never comes. A part that I’ve always believed I should have, and have been trying to find, but one that I have now realized will never come. It’s this version of myself that I’d always pictured myself becoming–who I’d always wanted to be, who I tried to be, who I still want to be even though that isn’t me. 

And I’ve realized now that no matter how much I run and try to escape from myself through theatre and through the characters I play, at the end of the day, when the theatre is closed, and the lights go down and the makeup and the costume comes off, I’m still just me. And I’m left with this thing inside of me–the part of me that I have been neglecting as I desperately waited for pieces of myself that would never come.

The part of myself that I can’t just ‘un-know’. The part that terrifies me. The part that I try to hide by pretending to be other people. By trying to force myself to love people I don’t just because I think I should.

So, I lost myself.

And it was at the height of this identity loss that I wrote a poem entitled ‘Dear Mr. Williams’–a letter of sorts addressed to Tennessee, for in some strange way, I found solace in writing to him about things I’d never dared to speak of to anyone I knew personally, much less anyone actually alive. And it is through those words that I realized, much like I have always felt that Tennessee’s words were for me and me alone, my words were (are) for Mr. Williams and Mr. Williams alone;

“Dear Mr. Williams,

Last night

I got drunk

on the whiskey I stole

from my father’s liquor cabinet,

before I realized

that getting drunk

on my own doesn’t make me fun,

it just makes me sad;

I think I am haunted

by the thought

that these words

don’t belong to me,

(that they never belonged to me);

that I stole them

from the parade of lost souls–

from the dead poets and Grey boys–

who came before me.


Mr. Williams,

I woke up this morning

to the low hum of sinister voices

ricocheting in my ears,

as I clutched a book

about streetcars and desires

to my chest–

I don’t remember what happened

last night but there is

an imprint of another body

beside me in my bed

and I don’t know

who it belongs to.

I can’t recall

how much whiskey

I drank or who I drank it with,

and yet I do remember

you wrote

that people rarely touch alcohol

but it touches them often–


Mr. Williams,

it has been touching me

every night since I realized

that I am alone.

I have been left

by the Grey boy,

(of my own accord),

for he was not

the boy I thought–

but he was my candle

who has long since

been blown out.

You see,

Mr. Williams,

his light was faint enough

that I couldn’t see

the ripped corners

of my fading beauty

when I looked at myself

in the mirror,

and that was the way

I liked it.

But now,

I shrivel

when the dawn comes,

for as you said yourself,

daylight has never exposed

so total a ruin;

I am an unnatural woman

who is too afraid

of her reality

to live in it.


But the thing is,

Mr. Williams,

I don’t want realism–

I want magic!

And we both know

that magic only exists

in poetry,

does it not?

That is why

I thought I loved

the Grey boy;

he wrote me

the most colourful poetry,

and showed me

the beauty in paper moons

and paper postcards alike,

though I could feel

the shadows rising in me

whenever he tried

to kiss me.

Writing to each other

was our pastime;

I wrote him 968

love letters

and still I

couldn’t make myself

love him–


Mr. Williams,

I don’t know what to do anymore.

I have missed

the streetcar named desire,

and perhaps I never had any

capability of getting on it

in the first place,

but I still don’t know

when the next one

will appear at my stop,

or if there will even be

a next one at all–

why am I the only one

who can’t get on?


Mr. Williams,

I have not been saved;

I have been desired

before having had the capacity

to desire,

I have been loved

without having had the instinct

to love–

what the hell is wrong with me?

The first time he kissed me,

I felt so dirty

that I lay in scalding hot water

for three hours that night

and bathed myself

in jasmine perfume

just so I could

feel clean enough

to fall asleep.


Mr. Williams,

this is not living–

this is barely surviving;

I depend on the kindness

of strangers for scraps

of affection

because that is something

I can’t find

in men who want me;

they are just preoccupied

with having their hands

on a body that shrinks itself

in their presence

to avoid their touch.

In some ways,

my Grey boy

was the same–

(men are a mouthpiece for desire),

though he was grey

in a different way

than your’s was.


Mr. Williams,

love and desire are two sides

to the same coin,

neither of which comes

with an instruction manual–

maybe that’s why

I’ve not figured it out yet.

But even if there was

some kind of guide,

I still wouldn’t be able to assemble it

because there is something missing

inside of me–

I am hollow;

(a house that isn’t a home,

a room with no furniture)

I have not yet found

the searchlight which you speak of.


Dear Mr. Williams,

perhaps I should stop

trying to force myself

to love men that I don’t

just because I think I should;

that is more lonely

than drinking alone–

it’s just so hard to feel things

for angry men and Grey boys

when I don’t even feel alive.”

This poem seemed to come to me out of nowhere. Or rather come out of me. It came at a time when I needed it most–one where I had no idea who I was, and didn’t like who I knew myself to be. And, because I am more Blanche than I am myself, I wrote it using her (my?) voice–so many elements of Streetcar bled out into the poem, as they are parallel with so many elements of my life. It was something that I needed to say–had been needing to say for a very long time–and Mr. Williams was who I needed to say it to.

Image result for the collected poems of tennessee williamsAbout a week ago, for my birthday, my mother gave me a copy of ‘The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams’ (which I had been after for a copious amount of time), and I was surprised and touched to find that my beloved Mr. Williams had written a similar poem to his favourite poet of all time, Hart Crane, which reads as follows;

“As I stood in my room tonight, drinking a solitary toast                                         

to the greatest poet of all time, Hart Crane,

I began to dance.


For in the distance I heard a radio playing.


I was in Brooklyn, in view of The Bridge,

I could see it from my seventeenth story window.


I saw you stride across it, Hart, great, swinging stars

with lanterns in both hands.


A bellowing voice! O you were the giant of Brooklyn,

I saw you followed by companies of sailors,


Whitman came after you, too, spewing wine on his beard,

Poe with his raven followed at some distance.


Unholy Trinity!


But there was fellowship in you.


You stood, Crane, on the Bridge and shouted to Melville,

I heard his hollow answer from the deep.


So many swimmers sprang, so many fish!

The air was cut by wings of phosphorescence ,


Beneath arcades the hearty loiterers tossed silver coins,

O I, I danced with them, too, on my seventeenth story,


I was filled with the running warmth, the greatness of blood

which is you, dear Brawling Crane!”

Reading this poem made me unspeakably happy, for it felt almost like a ‘full circle affect’–it made me realize that I,Image result for blanche duboisthough I may be insignificant, am part of something so much bigger and grander than myself. Because, despite being the literal epitome of Blanche DuBois, and despite not knowing who I am, and losing myself in the people I pretend to be–despite waiting for parts of myself that never come and suppressing the ones that do–despite the fact that I don’t want realism because I want a magic that will never truly be my reality–despite all of this, for a moment, just a moment, I swear, none of it mattered.

Because just as Mr. Williams wrote to his dead poets, I write to mine.


So, Mr. Williams, if you’re up there somewhere reading this, I need you to know:

the words are for you, Mr. Williams

(only for you).




The Collected Poems


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 thoughts on “the words are for you, mr. williams (only for you)

  1. Dear Hope,

    I’m not quite sure what to say. You’re brilliant, no less. But I already knew that from last year. Your blog, it really inspires me. Everything about it. I love it. And although these words may not be for me, they have definitely affected me. Severely affected me. Tears roll down my cheek as I nod in approval at understanding, if ever so slightly, about how you feel about not knowing yourself, and constantly concealing yourself with other characters. Hoping that you may find your own heart and soul in one of these characters. And I can agree. It is so much more comforting when you’re somebody else.
    But it really inspires me to see you show such devotion to Mr. Williams. After reading “A Streetcar Named Desire” myself, although I was extremely fascinated by it, I could not understand where the amount of devotion you show came from. I wished I could find that in myself, but then I realized, that would be taking your hero. Your idol. And as funny as that may be to watch (from my grave it would be), I know what it’s like to have to share an inspiration.

    Now, going into specifics about your blog, I love the connection you form with Blanche. Indeed, I see many characteristics that you and her share. It’s a perfect fit. Reading about it, I realized how much I thirst for a connection like that. With anyone, fictional or not. As well, your love for drama and theater has opened so many doors for me. I’m not sure which one to enter and look into. After taking drama last year, I also found myself to enjoy it thoroughly. However, I didn’t know why. I just figured that I enjoyed the company of such caring people. But that was wrong. And you put my reason into words, when you said “And that’s why I loved (love) it; because I escape from myself.” Wow. I never saw it as an escape before, yet I always used it as one. Thank you so much for that.

    Now. This is the hard part. And you know how much I struggle to complete this part of the assessment. I don’t think I understood why your title didn’t have any capital letters. I feel like I would’ve wanted to show Mr. Williams that I deeply respected him by only capitalizing the first letter of his name. But, I am curious as to why you didn’t do that, because I know that you know when to show respect.

    Alright, finishing up my comment, I think it’s important for you to know how I think of you. Being in your family group last year was one of the best experiences of my life. And I think you may know by now that I am fond of reading others. And after reading you for over a year, I have come to a conclusion. If I were to gauge your identity, I would gauge it to be an author. Now, as obvious as it may seem, I just want to explain my thoughts a little bit. At first, I was afraid of you. That was because, the first time I saw you, you were accusing somebody of taking your book. And you looked very intimidating. VERY intimidating. Over time, I got to know you, and realized that I had no reason to be afraid. For I was just like you. Unaware of my purpose. And I feel like you didn’t know it then, and I’m quite certain that you still feel that you may not know it now. And, I have to say, reading you has been both a pleasure and a learning experience. But that’s a different talk. As a reader, I found myself enthralled with your writing. Everything made sense to me, and I could hear the words coming out of your mouth, as well as imagine them coming out of mine (without all the great vocabulary of course.) But then it dawned upon me, after seeing your complete and utter devotion to Mr. Williams, I believe I know what your purpose may be, which is to be how Mr.Williams is to you, for somebody else.And it won’t be your only one, but I know you’ll accomplish this one for sure. In fact, you may have already.

    Thank you so much for writing this!


    1. Muhammad,

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It brought a smile to my face when I read it–you are truly very kind!

      In terms of your suggestion, it makes perfect sense to capitalize Mr. Williams’ name out of respect for him–however, there was a reason behind it; I hate capitals. Despise them, in fact. They are too angular and sharp. Too harsh and cold. Without capitals the words looks so much softer and more gentle to me. (I understand that this might not make total sense to anyone who isn’t me, but this is the only way I can explain it.) So, for that reason, I really would have liked to write the whole post without capitals, however Hunni wouldn’t let me get away with that, as I’ve been penalized for it in the past. To me, writing in all lower case is truer to who I am as a person–if my soul could speak, it would be soft and gentle, and the lack of capitals pays homage to that. So, for those reasons, that is why the title of the post isn’t capitalized–though I couldn’t get away with writing the whole post like that, I did with the title!!

      Thank you again for taking the time to read and so eloquently comment on my blog.



  2. Dear Hope,

    For the short time that I’ve known you, you’ve always impressed me with your creativity, whether you are showing your talent through acting, poetry, or a blog post like this one. You have a way of capturing emotion that inspires me, and I can’t help but feel the same way as you do about fictitious characters (like your Blanche Dubois), despite these words not being for me. I apologize for reading words meant for Mr. Williams alone, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have felt the way I do now. Your undying love and devotion to Blanche Dubois, as well as to Tennessee Williams, reflect something we have in common; namely, that sometimes, we find it easier to love fiction and persons who are long gone, rather than the people in our own reality, including ourselves. Reality is painful and unkind, and I get that. Like you, I find solace in these fictional characters because they represent who I want to be, not necessarily who I am. In them, we can easily escape from ourselves, run away from the parts of ourselves we refuse to accept. Your blog post gave a voice to my own thoughts, and for that, I thank you.

    Alright, as for any constructive feedback, I really have none to give. Your words are insightful, as your thoughts are profound. The only thing (forgive me for being picky on such a seemingly trivial matter) that you should fix would be spelling of the name of American horror novelist, Stephen King, whose novel “Misery” was the inspiration behind the play of the same name that you mentioned. As for any visuals, perhaps some bigger pictures may help reduce the large amount of white in the background, especially along your (very beautiful) poem. While they can be distracting for some, I personally like the use of pictures to enhance or fortify the meaning of a poem. Otherwise, you have a wonderful gift for words, and I cannot see any inherent flaws in your work!

    I must say that I love the relationship you have with Blanche. In her, you find a friend, a companion with whom to share the journey as you try to discover who you are. In running away from yourselves, you found each other, and I find a certain beauty in this bond strengthened by the human struggle to find something bigger than themselves. Like you, I find pieces of myself in the characters I read about, though it is my hope that as the year progresses, I will begin to see who I truly am, just as I hope to see you as you truly are (a person not rooted in the characters she plays, but in the meaning of her very existence). In finding Blanche, I sincerely hope you find yourself, and I wish to be there when you do. This is because I know that just as Mr. Williams inspired you, you will inspire others when you find your own voice, serving as the words for those who have none to say. As a matter of fact, I know you already inspire people. You certainly inspire me.

    Ever yours,

    1. Jieo,

      Thank you so much for your comment–you are terribly kind!!

      And thank you for your suggestion, and for catching my spelling mistakes–I’ll be sure to fix those.

      I am truly very grateful that you took the time to read and comment on my blog–your words are so wise and so kind.



Leave a Reply

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