I know a man who fell in love with a woman with a Snow Shovel. She told him, music to her ears is a Senate hearing roll call, Knowing when to shut up and eat Piping hot cornbread and real maple syrup is an intimate conversation; So beautiful~ the shape of green bananas, they make her cry. And what is it about a Lily with a loaded pistil in it’s mouththat makes her remember grandma’s nursing home run by that awful woman named Hope?
When she takes her boots off, she ends up barefoot in the kitchen.
I didn’t care where we went, I didn’t care what we did, I was ready and it was okay if I made you run late, for taking the time to swing by and pick me up, which you insisted on because it would be better with me along for the ride, my company no matter how brief, you’d take how ever long you could get
I watched the petals drop from a yellow rose, tucked under a tangle of chamomile blossoms in Sarah’s bouquet while I waited by the window and listened for the sound of your work truck, for the tires to crunch on the gravel
You liked what I was wearing, you said, I looked cute in your company logo and that it might be harder to work, now that you felt a little distracted and if we had a forty minute break, we could kiss the whole time
We followed the interstate under the flight of turkey buzzards, past the wildflower freeway medians, through the patchwork farm country, berry brambled and littered with semi-truck truck stops, truck lined weigh centers, silo trucking docks, eyed license plates from Iowa and Idaho and Washington and pulled up to the sound of a lonely rooster in historic (a.k.a. broken down) downtown Donald, that boasted of Hazelnuts and a population of 979 (more or less) where we parked next to railroad tracks as abundant as the neighborhood streets themselves
The clouds that passed, rode on a warm breeze and a layer of darkness threatening to scatter showers between sun breaks and a jogger jogged, sporting shoes the same color orange as the Road Work Ahead sign, posted beneath flapping safety flags
You put on your red bandana rubber-banded mask and got out to social distance with the sales agent, asked about the crawl space, and got to inspecting and detecting and site mapping and photo graphing
And I listened to your scanner pitch into a fast screw ball, and a morning dove coo cooing a lullaby, watched you walk paces in your boots, and the finches, the sparrows, the starlings, the chickadees, the crows, the swifts, the juncos, the jays more abundant than hazelnuts and railroad ties, seemed to skitter and hop and flit and swoop and dart and perch and spy and gather and deliver and pair and fly and sing 979 (more or less) different birdsongs while I waited for you and wrote this love poem.
to pour the grounds into the filter, a tiny dark mound
some loose across the counter, spreading out
some on the floor, slipping
some clinging to the soles of his work boots.
Pour the water to the top line
after fetching it from the faucet, splashing the sink board
some running down the cupboards
some on the floor, puddling around the soles of his work boots.
“Read out loud to me?”
I ask him, avoiding eye contact with the broom
while it’s brewing
ignoring the dust pan
the percolating and chugging and sucking in
the belching bursts of hot steam
never mind the dish cloth
when he lowers his voice
swear to god he sounds just like Barry White,
no matter the headline
it’s good news
when he rolls smooth and booms
until I laugh.
The Barry White “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” (music audio) is being posted on Stitched in Stone for no commercial purpose.
Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group You’re The First, The Last, My Everything · Barry White Can’t Get Enough ℗ A Mercury Records Release; ℗ 1974 UMG Recordings, Inc. Producer, Associated Performer, Recording Arranger, Vocals: Barry White Associated Performer, Recording Arranger: Gene Page Studio Personnel, Engineer: Frank Kejmar Studio Personnel, Engineer: Paul Elmore Composer Lyricist: Peter Sterling Radcliffe Composer Lyricist: Tony Sepe Composer Lyricist: Barry White
Phil Schaap – Liner Notes, Reissue Producer, Remastering, Research, Restoration. (No reissue retains Clark Terry’s quotation, on the original LP release, of Puck’s “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”)
I don’t want to admit to you I peeked at other people’s love poems…
I did not want to do it. You know I’m no voyeur. You know I don’t appreciate the swooning arbitration of Valentine’s day cards.
I purposely did not want to be influenced by their intimate life styles, how every word gets in the way or falls short for them.
I purposely did not want to listen to the pentameter of their lovemaking, or when to break the rules of rhyme and reason.
I purposely did not want to end up comparing our love poems to theirs… and the way we go back and forth.
But I did it out of curiosity~
I peeked at other people’s love poems
wondering if there was anyone that wasn’t typically quoting Shakespeare, or Elizabeth Bennet Browning, and I especially wanted to avoid Byron and Shelley and Keats and all their greedy usurping of the word love that never created the tension nor reached the climax they boasted of when they were drunk. I did not want to flounder through their archaic flowery language or proper stanzas, the non-specificity of a rose by any other name; even if I could depict the way you smell after I’ve drawn you a lavender bubble bath and watched you recline into the suds…
I wanted to discover a modern poet worth his “title” who was sifting through the mundane to find the treasure and see him hold up the junk as his trophy;
like how life really feels
when the falling went deep at first,
and planted the right seed too fast,
so the roots would grow deeper yet
and before we realized the choices of our proximity, they were pushing up sidewalks and threatening sewer lines,
A great big branch crashing down on the breezeway during the storm
leaving us amazed our tree would still stand
and barely miss crushing us.
I didn’t understand what Adrian’s poem meant at all or how she was using the words exactly, but her word choices buzzed and vibrated and her lines became increasingly wet and somewhat sticky, if not hairy, as if she was enjoying the trace of albumen in the runny yolk of soft boiled eggs dripping down her chin, while demanding her lover watch her chew with her mouth open…
and I decided, Wow, that’s a pretty good love poem even if I do not want her eggs for breakfast.
Kim’s poem was easy to understand. She listed her desires in an outline mimicking the sound of her heartbeat, revealing her character flaws as habits she’d be keeping, to keep feeling racy and racing; like if you wanted her in your bed, you’d have to be able to tolerate her bringing sand into your sheets after a day she’d spent drinking whiskey, barefoot on the beach, without you. Her lover would surrender to the backhanded compliments she’d give herself, and find her irresistible all while she notched them on their own bedposts…
and I decided hmmm… that was a good enough poem about a certain kind of loving even if do not want her pocketknife whittling crosshatch into my headboard.
The poem by David did that thing with his lines where the two people are opposites; how they argue. He showed when they divided and where they united and he anchored it, by looking through windows at pretty places they both loved but spent time differently in; their needs being met even when part of what they needed never allowed them to meet…
and I decided Yes, his love poem was the kind that makes you feel like crying even if I do not want to be moved to tears, because I do not like all of it, imagining the way he ate those tiny pretzels during late night extra inning baseball scores, but everything about it ended up true.
I stopped peeking at other people’s love poems after that and I thought of sticks and stones…
I wept at the giant boulders of Yosemite, for the sheer size of them.
Your brother skipped flat stones across the water and split your shorts that he’d borrowed, at the seam of his seat when he jumped into the motel pool, so that he only had his tidy-whities at the river to swim in and you said, “That’s my brother,” like no such thing as modesty was gonna stop him and you laughed.
On our way back to your pickup truck where we’d squeeze the three of us back inside the cab, a shoulder to shoulder sandwich and barely any room for my legs by the gear shift; or your knuckles knocking on my bare kneecap, you lifted a rock with a stick to show off a scorpion that remained still and appeared blue, and pointed out why to be mindful in such beautiful places.