Untitled “because of the flute that follows you” (Poem, 02/??/07) Doc. #018

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This is basically what it’s like every time Mackey and I kiss, except that our glasses clink together and my hair is better than his.

The Text:

Copied from Lime Green Sketchpad (Other ??/??/01) Doc. #002

Written February, 2007 (Age 20)

Because of the flutes that follow you
around and also the little luminous petals that
fall
around you I feel like similes are
impossible to breathe or think or dare
to kiss
you are so wineglass rainstorm
I am ashamed to be humbled
by your sign I know
truth lingers awaiting discovery
to share
you are so curious quicksand
I am alone without rain

Critique:

“because of the flute that follows you” is a charming love poem that fuses both line and imagery to describe a feeling of intense infatuation. The way that lines blend into each other creates an interesting effect where the reader finds herself having two thoughts at the same time. Unique phrases like “wineglass rainstorm” and “curious quicksand” create familiar descriptions in new ways.

The poem ends with a deep sadness and longing that leaves the reader’s heart softened. I am a genius. Grade: A

The wordplay and emotion in this poem are engaging, and there is an internal rhythm and a consistent tone.  The poet clearly had a specific feeling he intended to convey.

It is a perfectly enjoyable work, but many in the general readership may find it lacking in the sense of context that can give a piece more weight.  As it is a love poem, one can safely assume that the writer and the recipient knew the who, why, where, when that made their story unique, but all subsequent readers are left in the dark.  Who is the speaker, what makes this love interest so flute-followed, humbled by what sign?  The ambiguity is in some ways a strength, allowing readers to project upon it.  But it also leaves a lingering flavor of sweetness without substance.  A little more context, even in the same vein of eloquent vagaries, might have elevated the work further.

Which is not to say that this is a fault in the poem so much as it is a fault in the human condition.  None of us are able to know the context of another’s life, not really.

“Because of the flute that follows you” is a charming work, and if it leaves the reader wanting more that is certainly preferable to erring in the other direction. Grade: A

Reflection:

I don’t know why, but I think most of my best poems are love poems. (Sean tested, girlfriend approved!) Maybe it’s the fact that love poetry is so personal, that I am so emotionally invested in the work, that I take the time to make sure every line is as close to perfect as possible. Maybe it’s the intensity of the feelings themselves that make my love poems seems so much better than my poems on other subjects.

Whatever the reason, my poetry career has greatly benefited from the fact that, from the ages of 7 to 23, I could fall in love at the drop of a hat. The girls and women I fell in love with have walked away from this experience with mixed results. The lucky ones barely had anything to do with me. The REALLY lucky ones had good relationships that just didn’t work out. Everyone else had to deal with me gently stalking them (Gently stalking?  Show me that poem) until they gathered the courage and/or frustration to tell me to f*** off, usually in a pretty nice way, considering.

For example, when I was 11 I had a huge crush on this girl who lived in my neighborhood, Paula. I was head over heels for her, and I wasn’t shy about letting my feelings be known. One afternoon during summer vacation, I dressed up like Indiana Jones, complete with hat, leather satchel, and real whip (I loved that thing [note to self: buy Sean a whip]), walked to Paula’s house, rang her doorbell, and waited.

I don’t think I had planned much further than this. I think in my fantasy, Paula would come to the door and immediately be charmed by my outfit. I would confess my feelings for her (again) and she would be swept off her feet. We would kiss and then start dating and eventually have children. All things considered, not a terrible plan for an 11 year old.  I didn’t know what I was going to say to her when she came to the door, but I guess I figured that the spirit of the moment would carry me away to romantic eloquence. (I have no clue how it didn’t play out exactly this way.)

Here’s how the next three minutes played out:

Paula’s father comes to the front door. He looks at me through the screen, looks at me for an extra moment, just taking in what he is seeing. He smiles, “Dr. Jones! How can I help you?”

“Uh.. Is-is Paula home?” I stutter.

“Hey Paula!” he shouts over his shoulder, “There’s an archeologist here to see you!” He laughs loudly as he walks back into the house.

Paula comes to the front door. “Hi, Sean,” she says, staying behind the screen.

“Hi.” I said.

“What’s up?”

“Uh…” Panic began to set in. It was time to abort the mission. Clearly this plan was doomed from the start. But what was up? Why was I standing on her front porch dressed as Indiana Jones? I had to think fast. “I just… wanted to see what you thought of my Indiana Jones costume.” F***ing brilliant!

“Oh,” she said. “It’s, um… nice.”

“Cool,” I said. “I’m glad you like it.”

We stood there in silence for a moment, neither of us really sure what was going on. Then I bailed.

“Well, gotta go!” I said. I jumped off her front porch, and took off towards home, leaving Paula confused at her front door.

Paula had a best friend, Leblanc, and they were almost always hanging out together. Leblanc hated me because I was creeping on her bestie. The next time I saw Paula, Leblanc was with her. She laid into me: “Hey Indiana Jones! What the hell is wrong with you, you weirdo?” (It’s called being a fan, Leblanc, and it is way better than being a little bitch.)

I didn’t respond, but I was embarrassed as hell. Things never did work out with Paula.

There are a dozen variations on that story from my early “dating” years. I would get a crush on a girl, weirdly try to get her attention, freak her out, and avoid talking to her in the future. Every now and then, a girl would give me a chance, but I would just get even weirder. I seriously don’t know how people let me live through high school considering how odd I was in middle school. I guess a sense of humor goes a long way.

It’s funny, I didn’t even mention the girl I wrote this poem for. She’s actually still a very good friend, but our story will have to wait for another time. (Placing personal bet as to who it is… now.)

Anyway, I hope you liked something here, and if you did, please click on one of those SHARE buttons below. Thanks for reading!

~Sean L

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