after olivia gatwood

I bought her book and absolutely loved it.  So I wanted to try my own fingers at crafting a poem, an ode. An ode for something about which I should feel ashamed.

This is an ode to falling in love too easily.

I want to write an ode to all the times
that my friends said I fall in love too easily.
Told me that love shouldn’t be held so loosely,
like a drunk New Years toast with a stranger,
like a genuine smile flashed at passerbys.

Michaela says that I am 24 and I should know better.
You are so young, she says,
why would you choose one so early
when you could browse so many more with the swipe of a finger?
Lynn says that I am a dreamer,
unrealistic in what boys this age want,
fantasising about a type of love that no longer exists.
And Rachel?
Well Rachel thinks I am pathetic,
because I try to find patterns in a world of entropy,
I want something to tell me this was meant to be.

But what Michaela, Lynn, and Rachel don’t get
is that some of us want to watch our own demise.
To ride bikes around the neighborhood in 2 km loops
thinking of everything and nothing at the same time.
To shed tears early to start the early onset
lines on our face that will undeniably appear with time.
We want to fall out of love
so that afterwards we understand what we have lost.

There is nothing quite like going on a walk alone
that never feels that lonely,
because every man in a plaid dress shirt reminds me of him,
the poster for that festival reminds me of his stories,
the cologne on the man in front of me reminds me of his scent,
the sound of playing frisbee at the park reminds me of his laugh,
and every loose shoelace is just another promise undone.

Halfway through this poem,
I realize this is no ode
to falling in love to easily.
Instead, this is an ode to falling in love with you.

And to tell my friends that they were right,
I was young,
I was a dreamer,
and you were everything I needed,
at the right time, at the right place,
to tell me that I had made a grave mistake.

Placing my heart in your palm
was a dangerous task
and I was a fool in flying colors.
And I was stupid, yes.
I could have saved myself months of grief.
I shouldn’t have ever fallen in love with you,
I didn’t have to be that naive.

But then where would this ode have been?
What’s a shoelace if it can’t be retied?
What’s a heart if it can’t keep beating?
What’s a memory if it never happened at all?

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