I don’t write love poems. Not really. That is, I never considered myself a romantic when it came to my poetry. Instead, I romanticize things and experiences. I try to make the “horrible” something beautiful. I think that great poets do that, really. (And, no, I’m not classifying myself as a great poet. I’m saying that the great poets — the ones I hold in the highest regard — often find beauty in ugliness.) For example, consider Bruce Weigl’s poem “Song of Napalm,” one of the most chilling and beautiful poems I’ve ever read. Or look to what I consider B. F. Fairchild’s masterpiece, the appropriately-named “Beauty.” And if you would prefer a collection of poetry that’s equal parts sweet, funny and gut-wrenching, I demand you take a look at Andrew Hudgins’ The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood.
[Note: Here’s a link to an online interview I conducted with Bruce Weigl a few years ago for Memorious. Trust me when I tell you Weigl’s as generous, gracious and downright cool as the interview makes him out to be. He’s a genuinely great guy.]
I guess I wrote all of this as an odd preface to what follows, which was my attempt at a “love” poem. I put this together about 5 or 6 months ago. It’s seen little editing and received relatively zero feedback. So, yes, this is me being vulnerable on my blog. Again.
You and me, we do this beautiful dance
of death, our fingers intertwined
like ivy slowly creeping, over time,
to a unmeasured permanence,
when there will be nothing left
but the ivy itself, matted, fuller, obscuring
forever whatever wall or perfect mural
or one’s imagination of what
beauty is rests behind it, wrongly.
We spin, twirl, genuflect and dip
as if we might somehow cascade out
into a field of wheat, patch of lava rock
or some other empty space meant
not for us, but for the dead, or for those living
as if dead, to dance, grasp hands, float
as motionless ghosts in an atmosphere
that will, at long last, have us.