Where Will We Go, You and I?

Today’s Prompt:   Love poems are a staple of the poetry scene. It’s pretty hard to be a poet and not write a few – or a dozen – or maybe six books’ worth. But because so many love poems have been written, there are lots of clichés. Fill your poems with robins and hearts and flowers, and you’ll sound more like a greeting card than a bard. So today, I challenge you to write a “loveless” love poem. Don’t use the word love! And avoid the flowers and rainbows. And if you’re not in the mood for love? Well, the flip-side of the love poem – the break-up poem – is another staple of the poet’s repertoire. If that’s more your speed at present, try writing one of those, but again, avoid thunder, rain, and lines beginning with a plaintive “why”? Try to write a poem that expresses the feeling of love or lovelorn-ness without the traditional trappings you associate with the subject matter.

Window Dressing circa 1982

Berg & Prince, circa 1982

Where Will We Go, You and I?

It was those lazy days when condoms didn’t matter.

I didn’t want to sleep with you anyway.

I wanted something beyond the blue eyes in white face

and the flexibility of your body.  My art and yours would

blend.  No hot dates.  Just theatre.  You were skeptical.

No other would do. No other understood that the silent

part of mime could scream, not just ridicule and laugh.

I tossed my belly dancing costume aside, showed up

on your doorstep for a workout.  You’d get rid

of me you thought after three hours and a jog

around Cheesman Park.  I was as fit as you,

and well trained.  You didn’t want to admit.

Nor would I.  We never talked of tomorrow.

On the following day, one of us would call.

Day by day others saw what we did not.

I left my jewelry at your house, not

as territorial claim but convenience, a pile

of necklaces, bracelets and earrings

in your little apartment with nothing

out of place.

You say it happened the night we

went to Ringling Brothers.  I don’t know

when it happened.  We hit the circuit,

comedy clubs and elementary schools,

gave us a billboard name.

It probably surprised your folks,

and certainly the rabbi

when we chose February 14th,

not April Fool’s, to make

the commitment I said I’d never

make again.  For better—we had

wonderful betters, headlines,

travel and TV.  We’re having our worsts now

with the cancer invasion

of your perfect body.

Still we know, one day at a time,

we are in this together.

~C.J. Prince