Author's Note: The poem "The Public Apology of Shia LaBeouf" comprises a collage of 40 discrete dependent and independent clauses tweeted (not retweeted) by actor Shia LaBeouf from December 13, 2013 to January 13, 2014. Punctuation and typeface has on occasion been amended.
The Public Apology of Shia LaBeouf
It starts with this: Words are important. But I can barely remember
all the things I've done and said. Sorry, world!
Action figures, videogames, superhero movies, and iPods which were
mine alone, which served as my inspiration:
they all were unintelligent, ambiguous, and needlessly hurtful vapor
floating in the atmosphere. That's my fault; I fucked up.
I deeply regret the manner in which these events have unfolded. I'm
sorry for thinking I was being serious
instead of accurately realizing I was mocking you. Even though I wish
I hadn't made so many of you angry,
I owe it to future generations to explain why I'm not famous anymore:
I looked in the mirror and said, "Grow up, Shia!
No disrespect, you've got to learn from your mistakes. Stop creating!"
I was alone in a very dangerous situation:
I got lost in the creative process and the massive disruption it's caused.
(Their lives I try to read as much as I can, and call it our culture. That
way, they're immortal.)
I couldn't deny the facts, in light of the recent attacks against my artistic
integrity: I lifted the text; copying isn't particularly creative work; trust
is hard-earned; and I need to work on being a less controversial tweeter.
Personal beliefs aside, I've let my family down. (We used to sit in a circle
around a campfire; everything we have today that's cool
comes from someone wanting more of something they loved in the past.)
I do not believe that in the long run this is about individuals.
I knew it would make a poignant and relevant short, but I want my life
This is not a publicity stunt.
Seth Abramson is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Thievery (University of Akron Press, 2013), winner of the 2012 Akron Poetry Prize. A regular contributor to Poets & Writers and Indiewire, he is also Series Co-Editor for Best American Experimental Writing (Omnidawn, 2014). Presently a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he has published work in Poetry, American Poetry Review, New American Writing, Fence, and elsewhere.