Since some of you have been asking for more poems by me, I thought that this weird little piece, published the same time as “Years Later” would provide a more lighthearted change of pace for our Thursday Love Poem feature. If you are not familiar with the Thursday Love Poem, it is based on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Thursday.”
And if I loved you Wednesday,
Well, what is that to you?
I do not love you Thursday–
So much is true.
And why you come complaining
Is more than I can see.
I loved you Wednesday,–yes–but what
Is that to me?
So as we’ve said before, the Thursday Love poem is not a Hallmark romance verse, nor is it even a soulful and heart-wrenching Neruda piece. Heck, as the poem above illustrates, one might argue that it’s not about love at all, and if it is, well it’s definitely not something to read to your sweetheart by candlelight.
But today’s, while probably unhealthy in nature, is a darn site more loving than our flagship poem by Millay. It’s inspired by a long-past relationship that seemed to follow certain emotional cycles. Unlike other situations I’ve been in, this one seems to have two characters who truly do adore each other, despite the mess and the repeated mistakes. The speaker seems not to be upset to finally return to that old “rock” by the side of the stream. He knows the good days will be back.
There is a sequel to this poem, same characters, but different real-life partner. That one is a little less hopeful, darker, but still persistently positive in the end (not that the relationship followed suit). Perhaps it will make an appearance on the blog eventually. For whatever reason I was dealing with failed and broken relationships, long after the fact, by putting them into surreal metaphoric situations and working them out on paper. Here is just one more example.
There we are by the shore again—well, me
by the shore, you out there, bobbing in the waves
once more, eyes bugged out, lips ice-blue,
arms flailing. Desperate to keep your head
above the white caps, you’ve somehow managed
to grasp a fallen branch. “Are you okay?”
The classic stupid question, but what am I to say?
I never know. “I’m sorry,” you sputter-shout
as you spit a school of minnows from your teeth.
“I’m always drowning when we’re here together.”
Yet just last week we enjoyed a day here, dangling
foaming feet, skipping little stones, but now
is not the time to argue. I throw the rope,
always looped to my belt in anticipation
of times like this, but you miss it every toss.
All the while your enormous eyes convey a bevy
of emotions; fear of the current, rage at the waves
and sympathy for my own failings. My rope is too short.
In a frenzy now I fumble through my pockets, and toss
their contents to you—a marble, a feather, a rubber
chicken, hoping you’ll know how to use them. “Don’t worry
about me,” you gurgle. And I am touched; I know
how you hate it when your moods affect me. Too late
I dive and plunge into the icy flow, as you lose
your slippery grip and begin to drift
around the bend, waving kind assurances
as your head sinks beneath the surface. You’re always
thoughtful like that. Resigned, I crawl back
up the bank, and find my favorite rock. I check my watch—
it could be hours yet, before you’re washed ashore.