Summer 2009 - THE POTOMAC

Writing Love Poems
   Lawrence Desautels

is a complicated business,
something to think long about, sigh over,
in a language, for instance, lacking a word
for old-man love, how it differs, from say
a Romeo-love that must end
before it ever really got started—
a premature-ejaculatory sort of love.
(Of course just writing that
makes me think
of my own short

Better to store love for the winter,
as I have, than to use it all up in one
ill-advised, poisony mis-calculatory

Oh! Romeo!
So Italian.
So impulsive.
So dead.
While I love on,
raking leaves into piles,
leaning ladders upright
to gutters that remind us
that even the best run plans
drip-drop droplets near the rusted fender
and soft tire of an aging car.

But it still runs, as do I—
though mileage on both is high—
And the seats are comfortable,
the ride predictable, dependable.
And we both start with a turn of a key,
and a touch to the pedal...
or in my case, to anywhere.
No need to jump start.
(But I still dream of that.)

But back—
Writing love poems is demolition work:
break down the assumptions,
cart away by the truckload the debris,
the failed starts, the frail clichés,
the dust of yesterdays.
No set theory here, but one thing is dead certain:
there is room in this poem
for you, for me
and maybe a simple little rose.

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