Seasonally Appropriate

I wrote the following musings after an unprecedented number of conversations with friends about love in a single week, and in an effort to change up my post style + get this week’s post scheduled on time + give some sort of nod to the single day that, for whatever reason, characterizes the entire month of February, I’m sharing them here.

In exchange, will you answer a question for me? How does one find good modern poetry? Actually, I guess I have two questions. Who decides what good modern poetry looks like?

Three. Sue me. Have you ever read a piece so profound that it stopped you in your tracks, but then realized it treated something so ordinary it was almost profane? An old friend once tried to convince me that Coldplay’s song “Fix You” was about Chris Martin taking his dog to get neutered, and not, in fact, written for Gwyneth Paltrow after her dad died. I still don’t believe this. But it does make me wonder.


Apropos of Nothing


“I’ve only loved one girl,” he tells me

And it’s past-tense, ended

I could ask why he’s pretending now, but I think I understand

It’s easier to lie to ourselves about love

Than about loneliness


“The longest distance is the one between the head and the heart,” she says sagely

And my own heart shatters silently, because I

Have imparted hope where I should have advised caution

This, I think, is the razor edge of feeling

Happiness holds hands with pain


“He thinks I purposely do the things I do in order not to feel that void,” he remarks

And the incredulity crackles in my veins, riots

Against my skin—for him, for me, for whole

People and shadow people both. I bite

Back the response pressing against my teeth—

Don’t we all?


“I have never loved anyone,” I offer with a shrug

Offhand, disinterested

But the words fall heavy in the space between

And I wonder, how many questions did the one contain?

How many secrets

So neatly boxed and tied shut just moments ago

Now lie broken open at our feet?


I hold words in my hands:

“Saying ‘I love you'”

“A lifetime of sadness”

I juxtapose them, and the idea occurs

They’re sort of one and the same

Whisper it like it’s a secret

To be loved, to be lonely

They are not mutually exclusive propositions

Only to condemn the one who hears it

How much of love is obligation

Is unrewarded investment, is fear by another name

With a heavy heart

It’s uncharted territory, love in the modern age

We clasp the shackles around our own ankles

And plead only that we not walk alone


Cursed is the fool who’s willing

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