Rolande Barthes Proved Right by Text Message

“I hope you hd a gd time. x”

What a lovely text to cheer

Me up when I’m working


“I hope you hd a gd time. x”

That’s nice. I’m glad

You’re thinking of me when

The week must have been hectic

For you.  I’m glad

You don’t resent my being

Away.  I’m glad

I have you to come home to.

“I hope you hd a gd time. x”

Do you? Am I being naïve?

Do I need an irony app?

Is this the face of festering


“I hope you hd a gd time. x”

The missing vowels denote

Lack of warmth.  Is this

A throwback to that disastrous

Date just after we met?

When you said,

“At least one of us had a good time”

Maybe you think I’m having

Too much of a good time.

Should I feel guilty?


“I hope you hd a gd time. x”

What awaits me,

When I get home?

Cold shoulder? My things

In a bin bag on the pavement?


“I hope you hd a gd time. x”

Well, you know what?

Screw you! I’ve been working, trying

To make a little extra for Christmas.

If you didn’t want me to go

You could have said.

I wouldn’t have gone.


“I hope you hd a gd time. x”

Yes I know, you

Had the kids all week but I’ve not

Been living the high life you know.

It was one drink,

An old friend from school I

Hadn’t seen in years.

I missed you, you know,

You obviously didn’t miss me.

“I hope you hd a gd time. x”

No need!



“Did you have a good time, love?”

“Get stuffed. I’m going to the pub.”

And so a perplexed, tearful, wife,

Wonders what she did

To be so harshly treated

After missing him like crazy all week.

8 Responses to “Rolande Barthes Proved Right by Text Message”

  1. The truth of this is like a hammering weight. And it’s not about the text. It’s about us. The fears gnawing us, needing solace. Constant solace. So very authentic.

  2. That’s way emails and texts should never take the place of a human voice. Well written.

  3. Absolutely brilliant. My best friend had a tortuous time with Roland Barthes on a college course and I lived and breathed the whole experience!

    This just goes to show how we read so much into words, putting our own spin on them, which is so often wrong! Very well done.

  4. A story like this is at the same time deeply humoristic and sad.. how a simple message really get screwed up and misenterpreted like that.. to the point that he’s ready to leave when he comes home.. the repetitions worked real well.

  5. What a fragile and difficult thing communication can be, even (or especially?) with those we love. Very good use of the text format to create a poem with real substance.

  6. semiotics makes an appearance in the pub! an artful weave ~

  7. Wow, Graham. This is so powerful and tragically true. The tiniest little things can change the context from one person to another, with disastrous consequences. It made me think if there were any instances in my life with my husband like this. Shocking, but believable. Mind you, there is an undercurrent of defensiveness on his part – perhaps he’s done something previously that he is finding it hard to live with. Really strong work.

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