Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth once said there are three categories of things in life. Things that can’t be talked about. Words we use to describe things that can’t be talked about. And the boring blah blah that we inflict on each other every day.
The four love poems below fall into the second category. They use words to hint at things that can’t be easily talked about, things all lovers struggle to show one another – fearful, angry, tender things buried deep in their hearts – that can sometimes be glimpsed when you look into their eyes.
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Woodbury Commons by André Anthony Moore,
New York City, March 21, 2006
She startles me in the fitting room with Levi’s shirts.
Long sleeved ones meant for you, she tells me,
with a wink and a well-meaning grin as I frown.
I model each to please her, all four of them:
A green khaki cotton with clouded silver buttons,
a dark somber blue that perfectly matches my mood,
a light-hearted ivory I’d never’ve even glanced at,
and a bright red-orange that actually pleases me.
By now I realize she’s on to something.
You’ve found my look! I tell her as she grins,
her knowing grin, the one that helps me be,
that earnest grin which breathes life into me.
Kryptonite by Ron Koertge in Fever,
Red Hen Press
Lois liked to see the bullets bounce
off Superman’s chest, and of course
she was proud when he leaned into
a locomotive and saved the crippled
orphan who had fallen on the tracks.
Yet on those long nights when he was
readjusting longitude or destroying
a meteor headed right for some nun,
Lois considered carrying just a smidgen
of kryptonite in her purse or at least
making a tincture to dab behind her ears.
She pictured his knees giving way,
the color draining from his cheeks.
He’d lie on the couch like a guy with
the flu, too weak to paint the front
porch or take out the garbage. She
could peek down his tights or draw
on his cheek with a ball point. She
might even muss his hair and slap
“Hey, what’d I do?” he’d croak just
like a regular boyfriend. At last.
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