where every previous relationship has failed – a poem

where every previous relationship has failed – a poem

a good portion of the poet’s work
is to know when it’s done
and when to flow and flow and flow
with the words
following one another
like water over a falls
and i can’t clarify my position

but of course i can
will and do
for your hand in this argument
about love
and marriage
and what the last man did you to you

i have to proclaim
loud and clear
far and wide
with wow and flutter
that i is not he
the woe is not me
and woebegone was my least favorite program
of arts and musics and words
and i’ll wait
for your distrust
to waiver and crumble
under the thumb and forefinger
of my life
here beside you

you see…

it’s hard
i know
it’s hard
to imagine that this
right here
is real
i don’t believe it
three quarters of the time either
and the written word
is do different than the
or mumbled
because this is not a poetry slam
this is not the game of life
this is just two folks
you and me
tethered by a phone
a wireless wifi bandwidth of love
and still
i can’t jump through it
to reassure you
and i can only sit
1,800 miles away
that you will
hear, believe, love
and forget all that was done
to you
by them
other men

and there’s a moment
and neither of us is certain
we will make it through the night
as a couple

and did you realize
that every single relationship
we’ve ever been in
has failed

did you realize we are running a lottery here
in the declaration
of de
of traditional values love
this is transcendent
this is beyond the beyond
this is something i cannot tap out
on this keyboard tonight
as i reach
for you
and find only pillows
and tiny LED christmas lights
as comfort
that you are here
with me
because, of course, you are not
here with me
you never have been
you never were
you are a filament
of my imagination
a thin thread of challenge
against all that we have ever known
against the dark
against growing old
against me myself and i
not becoming
not expressing
the song of myself
in a way
that creates a demand
a best seller
that you share
from the airport shop
draws funny, silly, sexy, pictures
of short
of letters
and white space
and line drawings of your naked body
i’m not jealous much
but I get the signal
like a distant radio tower
blinking on and off
in the misty night
echoing messages
of love
to you
in minnesota

i can’t be more clear
i can’t broadcast on any
channels that are not
lit up

i will try
i’ll write down


and put my best

and ask you to forgive him
and all the hims me before me
the ones I can’t stand to contemplate
the time before us
the time of no-time
the other violators
of your sacred trust
who have left you shattered
and afraid
and trusting no man
and aware that
all men lie
all me cheat
all me
are animals

and i have to agree
we’re all assholes i say
it doesn’t go over well
i am colluding
with my bad behavior
and my non-rhyming verse
i am collaborating
with your ex lovers
i am giving voice again
right here
to how you are wrong
about us
about how you are making a mistake
and making a scene
a drama

of course
i’m not your ex
until i am


that’s too frightening
and i won’t look you
in the FaceTime(tm) eyes
or can’t see yours really
over the distance

there is a hum
as my laptop heats up
there is a
grip of fear in my chest
as if
oh no
it’s this one again
this scenario
that has played out across
many nights
in many pasts
in just a scene as this




this poem will solve nothing
when i read it to you in the morning
it will prove
and flaccid
if i let my editor
out of her cage
she will rip us
rip me
rip each
to shreds
in the hope of
in the simple hope of
letting you go
letting men take the rap
letting #metoo reign
like freedom
and did i forget to mention
it’s suicide prevention week
in america
and i’m a candidate
for some award
effort i have made
has paid off
and a word
or two
has been received
at the other end
and for just a split second
you can believe
and your response
with your own three bullet points

and the last one
the main one
the juicy one
is i love you too

and the little red lights blink on the tower
and i can come down from my climbing
type more
of this love poem
to you
this night

as you rest your heart
beside a lake
where you grew up
and don’t swim
because the water is too cold
and i’m begging you
imagining you
skinny dipping with me
you say
you will not be coming in
you say
you will not be naked
as you cheer me on
from the sidelines
because mosquitos are furious
and fierce
in the mid-east
and you know
you’ve had your toes in the mud
of this lake
and the fish are not that healthy
to eat
but the fishing boat
trolls along outside
and there’s a birdsong
that we fail to track down
and one of us believes
and one of us is suspending disbelief
and again
i’ll say it here
in this
whatever it is called
when the chemistry in the brain is just right
and the tongue clicks along with the typing
right with the world
dear woman
and all
is right with us
because i’m holding
a space for you
as a man
looking for a woman
the woman
the exact right woman
and for this exact moment
you are


image: radio towers at night, creative commons usage

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