We Write Poems wants poems about the first kiss. If I’m going to be truthful, there were lots of first kisses: the first one was probably in sixth grade, on a dare. There were others in high school with the two girlfriends. There was the first one with a guy, freshman year of college (he was straight and it was at a party and I already wrote a poem about that), and there was the one with the first kind-of-boyfriend. But this is about the first real boyfriend, whose birthday — go figure — is the day before Valentine’s. He’s happy with his guy, I’m happy with mine, and we talk only infrequently; but there is still, and I suspect always will be, that little nugget of love in my heart. I don’t write many poems about Alex (pseudonym! whee), maybe because I’m afraid to do so will corrupt the memory. But everything in the metaphors I tried to craft here — the nature images, the sense of time and doom, the inescapability of things, the hope and dream of it — is all directly related to the memory of my (comparatively whirlwind) romance with him.
I still think Massive Attack (in “Teardrop”) says it best and most simply: love, love is a verb / love is a doing word / fearless on my breath.
Three Metaphors for Alex’s Kiss
The snapdragon’s morning gravity
when it draws in little water-moons
to collect on its shoulders,
an entire hour of paste diamonds
at the ball to be treasured
until the sun arrives,
harsh and honest.
The blank space as the chapter
ends, lone period delicately hung
over a field of snow,
which seems to last forever
before you can find out whether
some antihero or another lives
The inevitable wave at midnight,
dirty and blue-brown with foam
as it’s tugged ashore,
quilting the sand, unpainting
scrawled names and prophecies,
leaving only a now, as cold
as it is correct.