The Poetics of Charlie Sheen

a peace of my mindimediately the gavel of truth

Charlie Sheen published a poetry memoir titled “A Peace of My Mind” in 1991. I think it’s interesting to read poetry written by celebrities because although most everything is made public, poetry is still very personal, and is usually created when the author is alone. I think this gives a special insight into the poet as a person. It is kind of hard to think of celebrities as fellow people because of how high the pedestal we put them on is. No one treats celebrities like normal people, and no one really gives them the respect that would be granted to any other individual. People feel perfectly comfortable tearing these people apart verbally, and bombarding them regardless of what they are doing; based off of an incredibly impersonal opinion. Sheen talks about this in his poem “I-media-etly.” It’s normal to call a celebrity crazy, although the general public doesn’t really know them; at all. Through poetry you kind of learn about how the poets mind works based on the words they choose, the way they compose these words, the ideas they convey, and the images they include. You kind of get a realer feel of their innards.

Sheen’s poetry is really dark, sexually twisted, and the tone is full of so much anger. Although I must admit, I only read what was available online, so this is referring to those poems and not his entire body of work. In “I-media-etly” it seems like Sheen talks about how soulless and fake the paparazzi is, and how they kind of run his life. “The Gavel of Truth” seems to be about Sheen’s struggle with himself. His choice in rhyming is interesting in that it gives these angry, dark, poems a playful sound. Rhyming always reminds me of childhood poems; or poems that are meant to be lighthearted. I don’t think light hearted is the theme of any of these poems though. Sheen uses a lot of abstractions and clichés. He refers to the paparazzi as ticks and eyes as lifeless in “I-media-etly,” and depicts death in a black coat with a scythe in “The Gavel of truth.” There aren’t that many creative images that aren’t disgusting or sexually twisted. Perhaps this could be fixed with structure, but Sheen really does not play around with lines at all. There are no surprises in regard to line or structure, which takes away a lot of reader interest. Sheen also has every line capitalized, but because his work isn’t particularly well written, it’s kind of hard to tell if this was a poetic choice, or if he just didn’t care that this is what happens when you type on Microsoft Word.

The titles are both kind of lame in my opinion, and don’t really add insight or interest into the poems. The ending of “I-media-etly” links back to the title which seems kind of childish and too full circle. “The Gavel of Truth” offers nothing new to the poem. Before I wrap this up, the last stanza of “I-media-etly” must be discussed. Did I just read what I thought I read? About stroking flaccid meat-ew- and cum filled eye sockets? Yes.. Yes I did. This stanza is out of place, like it was composed for shock value. I think it is meant to shame the paparazzi by saying that they follow Sheen around so much that they must want to sleep with him, but I am really not quite sure. Maybe that’s just how his mind works, and the images he forms. Only Sheen knows. I would also like to comment on how Sheen signed his poems, but I’m not sure if that’s how they appear in his book, so I won’t.  How anti-climactic. I think what bothers me the most about these poems is the complete lack of tact. I guess it’s cool to be unapologetic but this was just not enjoyable to read. That’s ok though. His poetry doesn’t have to be for me. I think poetry should be for the writer, and hopefully these poems helped Sheen come to peace with his mind.