LOVE SONGS AIN’T COOL
We staged an Anti-Valentine’s Day poetry reading
twenty years ago, with all the seriousness of the jilted
and the cool of a grunge beatnik,
flannel-draped and too intense for snaps.
It was all so black and white, our lives, our words
the only true responses: laugh or cry.
“I refuse to write poems about love”
the kind of manifesto hip to the moment
but not the challenge. “They’re all so
sappy and sentimental” as if the nature of love
could be so pedestrian or its pursuit
as trivial as our fashion sense.
I gave up the cult of cool later,
but it’s more like I escaped
I chipped away at my bedroom wall,
driven by a dreamy siren’s call to
offer my heart as a sacrifice. Not of the
knives and the bloodletting variety,
with the choicest parts saved for savage priests,
but the smoke and incense kind
which rise to the heavens in a pleasant aroma,
or the washing of another person’s feet sense,
now my hair too short to wipe them. A dream too real
and Technicolor to resist, so I chip at the wall
with a chisel I whittled from a shiv
and cover my work with a movie poster
of Cool Hand Luke
while I carve my tunnel
and make my escape
to a beach, a boat, and a book of poetry
so fine and imbued with love
its pages radiate and its covers pulse.