I’m Not a Love Poet, and Here’s Why

(Title partially inspired by one of Rudy Francisco’s poems, which is titled “Love Poem Medley” at some places and “If I Were a Love Poet” at others.)

When I asked you why
What I meant was, I have a track record of running in the wrong direction,
of falling on my face,
hitting my head so hard that the part of my brain matter that controls reason slips out.
When I try to catch myself,
I scrape my hands so hard that I lose my fingerprints.
When I asked you why
What I meant was, I’ve been using the word love in my writing since third grade
because I thought it sounded better.
(but I was never
in
love…)
When I asked you why, what I meant was
I love you, too,
but the autocorrect of my caution
highlighted the nonsensical message
and made it safer before I could send it
out of my throat.
When I asked you why,
What I meant was people have told me that I am a robot,
so I treat myself like one. What I meant was
I laugh behind my hand
and I cry behind my hand
and that’s why you can’t hear me over the phone.
When I asked you why what I meant was I still think about
the time in eighth grade
when someone asked me out
because of a bet.
The idea that someone could like me was laughable.
I still think I’m misreading every adjective.
What I meant was I am tired of choosing
between being other people’s punching bags or punchlines—
I choose to be a person.
What I meant was the character Lexi Reed
from Disney Channel’s show A.N.T. Farm
was told, “You’re a genius!” and took offense.
The commenter quickly responded with,
“Sorry! I mean you’re beautiful!”
I do not want to be beautiful,
because our planet breaks things after it smiles at them,
but it’s easier to say thank you than to ask if it’s that important to acknowledge an arrangement of atoms controlled by my word search of genes.
What I meant was Taylor Swift said when someone tells you they love you,
you’re going to believe them,
and I said not me not on your life!
What I meant was if my hair was any other color, I’d dye it purple as soon as possible.
When I asked you why, I meant I wear Anxiety like it’s eye shadow and want people to be afraid to look at me
and I say “worry” like it’s all stressed syllables.
I meant to say that in a conversation in middle school, my friend told me I’d eventually like someone and I said I’m not even sure I want to;
we’d had this discussion about four times, me telling her that it’s pointless because people lie, die, or leave.
I’m sick of people telling me to live in the moment while my synapses are still stuttering over what happened years ago. I could not function with constantly changing surroundings- a moment is so panic-inducingly temporary. When I get into the car I can finally remember how to inhale; during the rest of the day, my brain is too clogged with everyone else’s stories and too busy fending off enough to keep itself gasping
to even consider anything optional,
like smiles that people aren’t waiting on.
What I meant was I’m worried about what happens if our definitions of love are too different.
For one thing, everything-
but to me, love
is ending every day with a comma,
and to me, love
is losing my fingernails.
And I wonder if there’s too much
wrong with me.
When I asked you why, it was a why imploding with background, it was a “you might understand this but I hope you don’t
because I’d rather panic myself to sickness and be the only one
than split it among us all,
be able commiserate with anyone.”
When I asked you why
what I meant was all of the above,
what I meant was all this crud,
and also, when I asked you why
what I meant
was why.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “I’m Not a Love Poet, and Here’s Why”

  1. Holy crap, Heather, this is brilliant.

    One of my favorite lines (of many):

    “I do not want to be beautiful,
    because our planet breaks things after it smiles at them”

    Beautiful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s