Tag Archives: human relationships

How to Love an Introvert Part V

He destroyed you once again
with his honest words—
with the explanation you asked for
then begged for,
hoping to hear it again, differently,
as if maybe you misheard him the first time
when he said, “Weekends are enough for me.”
as if maybe he really said they aren’t.
But because the frequency
of your perfectly spent days with him
did not increase
you began to wonder about the flaws
he must have seen in you—
the ones you believed you’d hidden so well.
And taking this to heart, you decided
he was almost benevolent
for spending any time with you at all,
and so decided it would be an act of kindness
to remove yourself from his company
and love him how he ought to be loved—
from afar.






“The Absinthe Drinker” by Edgar Degas, 1876


Double Feature

Friday, almost midnight—
a movie theater mass exodus
into the dim-lit parking lot.
Voices hurry toward sleep
while my keys jingle and unlock
my sleeping god of destinations.
But another movie plays out
in my rear-view mirror—
an un-young couple embrace their wish.
The long strap of her green purse
is a snake on top of her white Nissan—
his body pressed between hers
and his dark blue Honda Accord.
He holds her as if this night
is all they have, have ever had—
as if he’d give anything
to be with her, elsewhere, anywhere
except in the hereafter of two hours
spent in the only dark they could afford—
I imagine them holding hands
in the back row, leaning into a dream
that will never come true—
forgetting about the lives they’ve
stepped out on to be here—
why else would she be crying
if this wasn’t the last scene
in their clandestine romance?
Why else would he still be sitting
in his car long after she drove away?



So rare
is the steak before me.
Not the rawness
but the frequency.
I can count the years
since I’ve had
a steak like this:
the flavor of reward,
the taste of a craving
finally satisfied.
But the price is so high
I can’t appreciate
the way the seasoning
has been perfected
over time.
I begin to wish
a pizza was before me–
chicken, spinach and tomato.
Those familiar flavors
into a circle of happiness
melted together
at 1000°–
the temperature of my heart
in love with a memory
it isn’t ready to swallow.






I was 12 years old
when Ryan Akers
approached me in the arcade
while I played Centipede.
I tried not to pay attention,
tried to act like I didn’t feel
anything unusual—
as if the new and unfamiliar wish
for him to touch me
was as benign
as anyone’s desire to hold a puppy.
And I don’t remember
a single word he and I exchanged
but I remember the shock
of seeing Lance kiss Amy
in the dark corridor
before we got picked up—
and the next morning in Sunday school
I watched Amy open a Dum-Dum
which she licked with a kind of pleasure
that made me certain
she wasn’t focused on the Book of Joshua
or its heroine, Rahab, the prostitute
who got exactly what she wanted.
Amy’s mind
was on the tip of Lance’s tongue—
and on the tip of mine
were words like sensual and erotic—
words that weren’t yet in my lexicon,
but their meaning was beginning
to take hold
on the scaffolding of my experience,
which wouldn’t include a kiss
from Ryan Akers—
but it was his anatomy
that first led my imagination
to cling to all the possible and varied
expressions of what I can now
identify as love.





Cropped area of “The Love Song” Norman Rockwell, 1926

Shape of Love

He cracked
the oval eggs
into the round
frying pan
and I folded
his t-shirts
into perfect squares
and we sat close
on the
rectangular couch
with his arm
circling my shoulders
and my hand
between his thighs
which is the picture
of nothing
nothing extraordinary
that it felt
exactly how love
should feel
which is happy
and whole.





Love, Declined

It truly didn’t matter
how happy we were
sitting on that fallen oak
covered with snow
talking about the things
we’d do come spring
or how perfectly content
you seemed
pinned to the tulip tree
which helped you stand
as I kissed you for the
thousandth time
with no way to know
it would be the last—
all our talks and laughter
and comfortable silences
weren’t right enough
for those words
you whispered in my ear
to mean what I thought
they would mean
when I wanted to know
if we could be more
than just a foolish wish
that wouldn’t come true.









Shadow Love

“I was never insane except upon occasions
when my heart was touched.”  ~Edgar Allan Poe


Shadow Love (Version One)

For once
I just want to cry
without talking myself out of it—
without reminding myself
that no one owes me anything.
I want to lose my composure
for once without feeling pathetic—
and I want to feel weak for once
without feeling guilty.
I just want to cry for a minute,
alone, on the other side
of that goddamn door
I can’t seem to push all the way open—
that same door
I cannot bring myself to close.


Shadow Love (Version Two)

I just want
to cry over him
without talking myself out of it—
without reminding myself
that he owes me nothing.
I want to lose my composure
without feeling pathetic—
and I want to feel weak for once
without feeling guilty.
I just want to cry for a minute,
alone, on the other side
of his goddamn door—
but I can’t seem to push it
all the way open—
though he doesn’t seem interested
in keeping it closed.





Illustration by Wilfried Satty, 1976