Saturday, May 21, 2016

May 21: Love Poems, Aimee Nez, "First Anniversary, With Monkeys"

Good love poems are difficult to write.  In fact, I once had a poetry teacher tell me that there are certain words that shouldn't be used in poems because of all the sentimental baggage that they bring.  "Love" was one of those words.

Of course, I've never been much of a rule follower.  I have used "love" in poems.  It's not about the word itself; it's about how it is used.  These days, a poet couldn't use a phrase such as "My love is like a red, red rose," unless he was being ironic, tongue-in-cheek.  On the other hand, if I wrote something like "Love is the garter snake in my shoe"--that's alright.  You'll never find that in a Hallmark card.

Really, there are no hard and fast rules for poetry.  One of my favorite collections of poems from the last few years (The Dead Wrestler Elegies) sounds like one of the worst ideas in the world:  poems about dead professional wrestlers.  Yet, it works.  It's beautiful, moving, and funny.  It really proves that poetry can be found in anything.

Saint Marty often finds poetry at McDonald's.  It's the fries that do it for him.

Aimee Nez finds poetry in . . .

First Anniversary, With Monkeys

by:  Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Periyar Nature Preserve

There is no crumbly frozen cake to thaw.
Today, we are in the jungle. I mean mosquito. I mean
tigers and elephants sludging their way
to the lake for a drink and Don’t make sudden moves
or snakes startled from an afternoon nap
will greet you fang first. I think we are lost. Too hot
for any cold confection to survive. Even my tube
of sunblock is as warm as a baby’s bottle. You get
to those places I can’t reach, those places I dared
not even whisper before I walked down the aisle
in white. You never worried if our families
would clash, if they would clang like the clutch
of pale monkeys clanging the thin branches of the treetops,
begging for our trail mix. You never worried
about my relatives staring at your pale, muscled calves—
things not usually seen outside of the bedroom. You wore
hiking shorts anyway. And still, they lavished ladle-fuls
of food on your plate. I think we are lost. My eyes are dark
and wet as that wild deer that walked right past us,
a little off the trail. I think we are lost, but for once
I don't mind. Eventually you turn us back to a place
not on any map, but I know I can trace it back with my finger
if we ever need it again. We made it one year
without a compass and we’re not about to start now.
Just because it's so damn funny . . .

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