We Recorded a Song For You: Listen to “This Story’s True (F*ck You)”

I’m not a poet, but I wrote a poem in April 2009 on my personal blog anyhow. It was about somebody we used to know & love in this very complicated/important way. It’s one of those stories that’s too long to even say one thing about it without saying everything — basically, I just want you to know that this song is not about anybody’s ex-girlfriend. Friends matter too.

singer haviland stillwell (photo by wingspan productions

Rising Star Haviland Stillwell really liked the poem when I put it on my blog and today Haviland & I are in North Hollywood with our lightworker peers ashley reed (drums) & bcw/marni (keyboard). Haviland thought it would be fun to “jam” to this song. It was.

So we recorded it for you. Nothing was planned they just went with it. Like made it up as they went along. It was really special. I don’t know how music works. I just write the things. Then people play instruments and sing and make things like this.

Here’s the track (you won’t hear much for the first 7 seconds or so, resist the urge to panic or go check tumblr)

Here’s the poem itself, if you’re interested in reading along:

Insomnia Poem #500

There’s no-one to [redact]
It was just an act

Not mine — I’m fine
we missed all the signs,
always pushing my love
under your Borderline

‘Cause I thought I knew the distance
between reason and rhyme
but really you were lying
all that time

So I’m angry, but I’m fine
No gun, I’m stunned, no crime.

Sometimes I wonder who you really are
Sometimes I wonder why you never fixed your car

While you waited for us to tell you who to be,
As mirrors go —

I like yours,

I mean

that’s what I wanted to see.

Well we’re done, now it’s over, now we’re free —

All I wanted

was safety —

What came first, my helplessness, or you helping me?

You’ll be busy with
your cast of 99,
though no one’s on the other line

and we Had a Time

Your gifts soothed my spine
You built my castle, poured our wine
Whatever I wanted; you made it mine mine mine
You offered, you protected, you designed,
hire me, fire me, thrill me, fill me.

I’d taken care of everyone else for so long, you know?
My heart got snagged in the undertow
they admired me, inspired me, killed me, billed me
but you …


chilled me …

You flew in on a whim, we were stars, so I shined
We played, we complained, we drove, we dined …

So I’m grateful, I’m fine
I’m lucky to be on this side.
With my ass off your line.

You made me laugh, I made you laugh, we had fun.

I believed you when you said

that we auto-win some.

Now I’m out from underwater, I’m floating, I’m wood
I’m that guy, Who am I, remind me where I stood
But I don’t think you could
or should
or would

Who are you?

Don Quijote sans ambition
A Genie without premonition

Echo without immortal fate
Santa Claus with an expiration date

A savior often spotted running away
An angel no-showing on judgment day

Frank Abagnale but you never took, you gave
The Hipster Grifter sans sexual games
Catch me if you can, and we did, and we cried
Let you back in, and you lied, and you lied.

A martyr, a giver, a servant, our mom
Victim, loner, hero, helper,

time bomb

You’re sick, she’s sick, she died
She sued, she’s rude, you lied
She fled, she’s dead, I eulogized
I trusted you

we busted you —

You saved, I forgave, I tried

And when you cried, I cried

We got out of town,
We fixed my frown,

made my throne

and my crown —

I wanted to say “this one’s on me,”
A renegade team so fancy/free
I said you want sunshine, come with me
your dreams will come true,
I’ll fix everything for everyone
starting with you

Why is my anger
so long overdue?

Because you helped so much?

‘Cause of all that stuff?

‘Cause my broken record’s a sad sad song
and it’s waaaaaay tooooooo long …

I was a good friend to you, that’s the rub,
Treat me like I’m someone you love

Like we treated you —

that story’s true —

enough is


I love you but

I’m tough

I like it rough

Meanwhile, we’ll sort through the stories, what remains
The honest hearts waiting in the wings, soul-stained
and oh I’ll try to explain.
“Here I am again, wanting to place blame …
and I’m ashamed.”

I’ll try to fix the honest love that stuck around
Here I am again, myself, and I’ve found

Folding into you
Was not the thing to do

This story’s

true: fuck you.

I never had a chance
You never wanted to be well
There’ll always be new lies to tell —

It never had to be me myself
did it
there’s always somebody else
quit it

Let’s dance

I like your pants

Where’s my grant.

Nevermind I don’t want it
you can take that grant
and suck it.

I never asked for that.

And I’m no sleuth
All I wanted

was your truth

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3228 articles for us.


  1. Eulogized – perfect placement, can’t stop looking at that line. Enjoyed this; the way it brought life to it!

    Is there a dog? If so it’s barking to the beat <3

    • yay!

      what’s really funny/awesome about that line is that when i wrote it, i’m literally referring to a situation in which [subject of poem] asked me to write a eulogy for a person who had allegedly died but i found out later; didn’t actually exist. But it works symbolically, too, right? different meanings for different people/pointofart

      (yes on the dog)

      • I noticed/appreciated the dog too.

        Also, said subject told you that someone died, but they didn’t and asked you to write a eulogy??? That sounds like one big mess. It makes me want to give you a hug. I’m sending you one via magical airwaves.

  2. This is so good. I can’t believe this was just done in the spur of the moment! I’m thoroughly impressed.

  3. i thought this was sung to the tune of the Cee Lo song (i didn’t read the intro, just clicked play). it’s not, but i’m not disappointed. this is pretty good!

  4. Incredible.

    I know it’s not in my place to say so, but I kind of wish you had moved to LA, Riese. Haviland is good for your internet life (although you’ve done amazing things without her. I guess I just missed you together).

  5. This needs to be performed live at an open mic somewhere, like San Fran or NY.

    Did you guys do a video of the recording? Like MTV Making the Video?

  6. I love this. Reminds me of early Regina Spektor. Haviland’s voice is amazing. (I feel the need to comment on everything now because I don’t want it to end up on 2011 Things You Assholes Didn’t Appreciate.)

  7. My first reaction was to demand an album, but I realise that would be harsh with your current work schedules.

    So instead I’m demanding you all clone yourself three times: one to continue with all things Autostraddle, one to produce genius impromptu musical masterpieces, and the last one as a spare in case the first two break.

  8. I don’t have anything clever to say. I just like this. A lot.

    Also, I love the redesign and would love an appropriate place to talk about/thank/adore/marvel over the person(s) involved in said redesign.

    Basically, all I have at the moment is that everyone is motherfucking awesome.

    The end.

  9. OH you know what this reminds me of?



  10. I love the pause before “Who are you? Don Quijote sans ambition” I don’t know much about music but I do know that this was gooooooood.

  11. Really Riese… the way you put all those words together… it’s really completely perfect.

    I liked it all. But the words.. I liked your words the very best.

  12. Haviland has a really amazing voice. The song makes me really curious about who/what this poem is about.

    I agree that this is really Ani-esque. And awesome for that.

  13. i really really loved that poem. and i generally don’t really enjoy poetry. i guess i’ve been reading the wrong kind.

  14. This is directed at Ms. Stilwell:

    Damn girl. As a vocalist, not only is your natural talent impressive, but your technique as well. The lip trill after “you chilled me” was pure brilliance. Your delivery of the words themselves was so smooth that it was difficult to believe that this was done on the fly. Your tone was forward, focused, and bright; your consonants clear and crisp; you developed patterns out of the melodies and broke them appropriately for emphasis… I could go on. A very impressive performance.

  15. this made me have lots of FEELINGS, thanks so much for sharing it! that poem… wow. amazing. and haviland’s voice is a wonder.

  16. I mostly heard Haviland, but got twinges of Beth Gibbons/Portishead when she sang the line “you …. chilled me”. Also heard just a smattering of Tori Amos with the “it’s waaaaay tooooo long” line :) I liked it! Now I have the urge to go watch “So I Married An Axe Murderer”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETPRsJ-exZw

  17. you have such good timing. perfect, really. [ if i believed in perfection. ]

    thanks for reminding me I’m not crazy.

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