Requited (or, a poem for lovers)
I’m sorry to say, Kentucky,
that our dance has left me
with broken feet and a crow’s beak,
scrounging for tin foil to wear as a hat
to the church social after the lights have died
and the adult contemporary has quieted.
These empty wings of mine are made
of mortar thanks to you, Kentucky,
and how could I ever fly with mortar wings
specked with petals from all the flowers
you’ve thrown back into my arms
because they didn’t match your dress?
I thought the beauty was in the clash.
You see no compromise between
elegance and leisure suits and so what
if my beard shines with all the colors –
don’t you know the power of growing
a rainbow like a promise on your chin
and how all those shades sing
a bluegrass chorus to the world
during slow songs when the strobes
drop out and the hues mute?
Don’t you know the spectrum of a free smile?
Don’t you taste the sugar of aimless gyrations?
Take a chance to dirty dance, Kentucky.
Grind your ass into some lightning and see
how clean a shower of sweat leaves you,
how the spark from distant glares and open jaws
frees you, how the heat of weathered hands
with clashing fingernail polish stings you,
how the breath of a bird’s lungs burns you.
Let’s see how giving a fuck feels.
The artist's space.
About the poem:
“Requited (or, a poem for lovers)” was initially a response to an earlier poem of mine,
“Unrequited” (which appeared in Still: The Journal). The first poem comes from a place of
longing; “Requited” has a bit more experience behind it. “Requited,” too, is playful – I wanted to be a bit more shocking, a bit looser, a bit more willing to have some fun, which is really the entire point of the poem. In that vein, “Requited” holds a special place in my journey as a poet, being one of the first times I took a half-step back and really enjoyed being a poet.
Crow Hollow 19
Murder Two, Winter 2015