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.
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.