poems of a love gone off
“Tell all the truth but tell it slant.”
This is a work of fiction. It is not intended to portray any person or combination of persons living or dead—really.
As if something out of a sailor’s dream, you walk in, like an actress, superior yet terrified—prey, hunted—eluding. That walk—maybe you were born with it, although likely it’s an acquired trait, to complement your red hair and accent. You speak in whispers— another of your movie star tricks, and it works, makes me get close.
Looking like you have something important to say, you charge toward me. Impossible to miss in that mini dress, my eyes follow, like a construction worker. That half-empty bottle of wine you’re holding only adds to the allure. Heart pounding, I watch with an accelerating desire, thinking the sort of thoughts that might get me arrested. With no hesitation, you lean in close and whisper, “Follow me.” Instantly I know I will never forget you.
What started quickly turned into—well, I don’t know how to describe it. All I know is that I’ve been writing poems about you for decades—still, not sure if I’ll ever be able to stop or forget. And the truth—I don’t want to stop—or forget.
2:15 a.m.— why must even my dreams be poems? Why not just dreams?
In no particular hurry, you clear the clutter of our life: a few dishes, a box of books, our one good painting. You turn to ask a question but stop before you speak. Maybe you’re right. All we do is disagree. Not fight. Just disagree. It wasn’t always this way.
Doors open. You enter,
capture me like a riptide I can’t escape.
Rescue is what I need.
Bronzed was the first
word that came to mind,
though breathless, I could not speak.
The second word
I can’t put down for fear of arrest.
Singed, I edge closer.
You’re right there—
I can smell you—see you glisten.
As if to invent possibilities
you speak first,
whisper, one word, “Follow.”
I take your hand
and follow. We both
know this is heading for unexplored pleasure.
Days of it. Twenty minutes later
I know—I’ll never
At your insistence, we kept things simple, impersonal, focused on fun. Things changed.
I’m just here for fun,
you answer before I even
finish the question. Nonchalantly
you blow smoke softly my way—then kiss
me hard. That was as close to the truth as you got.
You went on to love me, like a gypsy—whenever you
were in town. I waited. Watching you
come and go was almost perfect.
Until you moved in.
You always treated our love casually. It seemed easier for you to do things without me. Maybe I was just the object of your play.
You’re going off.
Like a ship at sea
you have a melody.
A low rumble
echoing off waves
as if fog were in the air.
You pulse, taking oxygen
as you move. Barely glancing.
Hardly noticing, as if alone.
First I was insulted, but
who am I kidding?
This is meaningless
at its best.
You seemed serious about us for a while, and I was all in. Still, something about you made me feel that I was more in love than you.
Already—it doesn’t matter,
I’m in too deep. You are my heroin.
Immediate pleasure followed
by certain pain.
You lure with your sweetness
and kill the future so beautifully.
Yet I chase. Running the fault line
as if nothing will break.
Time moved swiftly. Somehow we were “celebrating” two years together. I planned a picnic at the beach. Once we arrived, we found a very private spot and, for about an hour, we enjoyed each other’s company. After, we even held hands. Then, in the distance, we heard a single-engine airplane. Just like us, it seemed to struggle.
Up and then off
we echo and stall.
It feels like we’re about to
come to an abrupt end.
These stunts of ours
scrape the sky with
terror and hope
vibrating through our
A distant but familiar
Will we throttle up or
is this the end?
We stayed together—almost committed. I was never your priority.
Sounds like you’re giving
dictation as we make love
while you talk paint colors and
landscaping. At least you’re naked
though covered in your to-do list
and bra. My lover is somewhere
buried in important things too hard to forget
even for the next 12 minutes? You’re in a
hurry now, for all the wrong reasons. I want to
complain, but I love you.