Heart to Heart: Love Poems
It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Please enjoy these unconventional love poems, and look for another valentine to appear here tomorrow. Find more unusual love poems at the end of this mini-anthology via the links to our past Valentine’s Day celebrations and disavowals…because not everybody loves this holiday.
Pont des Arts
Near the bridge’s end, the cripple
hobbled to a stop, an empty can
outstretched in his gloved hand.
By the time we had dropped a few coins
and reached the other side, the sky
had turned black, a dense fog
swallowing the barge’s cries. Our last
night in Paris and we were ready
for discord. Was it the wine,
the want of sleep, the relentless feast
of beauty? When I fell silent at the Jardin
des Plantes, your eyes stayed fixed
on the fountain. I slowed my pace
at Varennes station; you thought I’d lost
an earring. Back at the hotel I sobbed
in the shower, you flipped through channels
though all the stations were in French.
Combing my wet hair, I pictured the steps
of St. Sulpice, carved by centuries
of heels pounding toward salvation.
Does anyone believe the world was made
for happiness? That night we crossed
the Pont des Arts under a plum sky,
padlocks winking like tumbled stars
trapped in the guardrails, the tossed keys
scaling with rust on the river bottom.
Is it animal—this urge to bind
and tear apart, to pick at scabs
and howl from our softest parts,
faces to the moon?
With a crash 2 dykes came out
of the gay bar.
The big one had a knife
but the small one was fast
made it to my cab
and ordered me to
get hell movin’.
Before she could get the cab door closed
the big one reached
in and grabbed her
arm and a handful
of her hair and told
me not to move one
The small one
managed to squirm
and began running around
the cab counter
I shut and locked
all the doors.
For a while
the chase continued
around the cab
with the big one
cussing like a drunk trucker
and waving that knife
and the small one
rubbing her greasy
hands all over
screaming bloody murder.
when I’d had enough.
I palmed the horn
and pulled away slowly
gently bumping the big one
until she stepped aside.
I watched them in my
as they walked toward each other
embraced and then
both giving me
and going back into the bar
for last call
and drove out
to the airport
to watch the
planes come in.
Ruby Rants to her Roommate Lucille at the Sunset Living Center
~after Kenny Rogers
The wants and the needs of a woman of any age
were beyond him. So he wasn’t “the man”
he used to be, but it wasn’t the wheelchair
that broke me, not even the piss & the shit.
It was the booze & the rants, the nightmares
& his hands wrapped round my throat—
PTSD they’d call it now, just his lot in life
we thought then, mine, too, for marrying young,
taking pity. Of course, I dyed my hair & slicked
my lips red. I was going out with the girls
from work, couldn’t have them feeling sorry
for me. One of them, Michelle, had a college
degree, brought me books to read – Margaret Sanger,
Evelyn Reed. Then, Gloria Steinem & Betty
fucking Friedan. That’s when I made up my mind
to leave. I don’t know, maybe if we’d had kids
it’ve turned out different, you know?
People talk of friends and romance
as if marriage is some accidental destination.
But maybe it’s the journey that tips us into love:
we check the oil and tires in the old truck,
pack drinks and snacks.
We listen to the forecast and choose the beach
though it’s late and we might have to stay the night.
We drive east, not knowing the transmission is shot.
Soon we’re stuck on the edge of the highway,
sleepy and wondering how we got there.
The breath of passing cars pushes us into twilight—
across the dry grass, over stones and litter and a wire fence.
We find a trail that leads to water and silence.
where the sunset paints everything red and orange
as if such brilliance is simple.
And we would never have seen it
if the truck hadn’t refused to go any further,
if we hadn’t set off on foot, hopped the fence,
and run our fingers through the peonies grown wild
beyond the edge of the interstate
where friendship makes lovers of us all.
Click the links below to see more poems, or the poets’ and artist’s names above to see more of their work! And come back to Escape Into Life tomorrow…because it’s Valentine’s Day.
A True Account of Stolen Love (2017)
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