Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fool for Love: The Poetry Edition

As I previously mentioned, people tend to do silly things when they're in love.  We become so overwhelmed with emotion for another person, that a desperate feeling arises in us to vent that emotion.   I am sure a few, if not most, of you have at some time in your life pondered a thought similar to: "A phrase as over-used as 'I love you' could never do justice for a love such as ours -- a love that makes Heloise and Abelard look like a one night stand."  So we, the besotted, pull out our materials of choice -- construction paper, watercolors, cassette tapes -- to express ourselves.  We then present these homemade creations to our loves with the same intensity as if we were handing over the quivering heart itself.   We watch their faces as they unwrap the gifts, anxiously searching for a sign of understanding that this mix tape of carefully selected songs means I would die for you, this comprehensive photo collage says I will devote my life to your happiness, and this hand painted ceramic piggy bank says your love alone creates meaning for me in this universe.   It's a lot of expect from a piggy bank.

My medium of choice has always been poetry.  Why poetry?  Oh, probably because I am terrifically bad at it and I tend to gravitate to those things that cause the most humiliation to myself.  Also, the intoxication of love tends to over-inflate my confidence like beer must do for most guys.

I've included a couple poems I've penned in the name of love and the responses I received from the recipients.  I count these poems as moron tax, because, I sent these poems with intense emotion and received, in return, the equivalent of "That's nice, Wendy."  Also, though it may not be obvious, I lavished time on them and yet they are still thoroughly bad. 

The Poem:

If I could have anything in the world,
I'd lay you undressed on my bed

with your arms and legs half-outstretched.
Then I'd stop time.
And you'd lie there looking
beautiful as a brittle leaf.

This would then be a good opportunity
to pull my white coat from the closet
and reach for the clipboard I keep
beneath the bed.

I'd stick my fingers in your ears
and jot down my findings.  I lick the
rim of your nostrils and I'd tap your chest with my fist.

I'd hum to myself as I examined you
this way, lifting each of your limbs
to uncover your hidden spots.
The last thing to do would be to bite you,
gently, on the thinnest part of your skin.
Perhaps to draw a little bead of blood, so I can

see its color in the name of thoroughness.

At the end, I'd nod to myself knowing
that I have done what I can. I'd lie beside
you and place my hand upon yours.
We'd lie together like that for what feels
to me to be days. And when you wake up,
you'd feel as if you've known me forever.

The  Response:  

"what a sweet poem. needless to say my night was a drag and it didn't help that i woke up early in the morning.  mother's day is next week! i might as well get a cot."

The Poem:

There are times when you look at me
as though I might as well be skipping stones
into the ocean as talking to you.

If you could know
all I am trying
to do is cast one bottled message
into that immense and foreboding water
to spite the impossible
that it could deliver itself
to where it would matter.

Perhaps one day,
you might discover
washed upon your shore this
small and curious bauble.

You could take it in your hand
and raise it to the bright sun
to shed light
on the far flung hope
still captive and curled inside.

Then I, while you
stand there blinking,
may finally be received
and pitied.

The Response:

"I loved your poem, but it made me very, very sad. (OK, I admit that I had to look up "baubel".)"

*I consider all pain in this blog entry to be self inflicted since the men never requested such emotion outpouring and I set them up for unfair expectations.  Nowadays, it makes me laugh to imagine them receiving these ill-conceived poems and wondering, with some desperation, how to respond without offending me.


  1. I think about this post maybe once a week, and it still makes me wince from the vicarious pain every time...

  2. Angela, I agree -- this one is particularly singeing. The revelation is that I am not only a cheesy poet, but a totally ineffectual one at that.