Sunday, February 23, 2014

Love Story

Love Story


He lives alone
with her
and I suppose it suits
them both
for each a given room
built for something shattered 
long ago, patched, imperfect
hanging stiff, a prosthetic
to protect
from the pain
of being touched.


But together
things get done.
The long illness of life
is a fog they
navigate with muted beams,
brassy horn of a crabbed
autonomy fussily sounding,
while traffic doctors mumble,
 there should be a lane change here;
less sideways, more forward,
some turn
toward recovery.


She lives alone
with him
in carved out rooms
that never touch,
her music mute before
it drifts too far,
his face obscure behind print, the
picturebox that swallows his couch.
She only comes out
when he sleeps,
to look at the stars
to blind herself 
with the fire, the moon,
a glass of cold stone-flavored wine
its petrichor the ash of auto-da-fé
on her  tongue.


In the mornings,
they laugh at cats,
penguins, politicians, fools;
make their way to town
for words and bread
point at the house for sale, 
talk about the weather domed
over the chaos where independent
a delicate mechanism
still whirs, clicks and
joins the invisible

~February 2014

posted for     real toads
Sunday Challenge: Play it Again,Toads
Margaret Bednar once again brings three vintage toads' challenges out from the vault and asks us to reconsider them. I have chosen to write more directly than in my first attempt to the old Fireblossom Friday prompt  called Lights!Camera!Love! where Shay asked us to tell a love story of two people that might be a movie.

Top Image: February, by Michael Sowa
May be protected by copyright~posted under fair use guidelines, via
Footer: Caravan, by Remedios Varo
May be protected by copyright~posted under fair use guidelines, via


  1. Local anaesthetics, indeed, though the tale would fit ten thousand houses of aging, perhaps the world ... What is it about intimacy over time that settles into separate rooms and beds and holds forth into the future in a sort of shared misery, which is better than the fully isolated one ... Maybe habit dulls the heart, or maybe the heart finds strength in that dullness, leaving passion for younger bodies. Dunno, but I do agree with Rilke's definition of love as "when two solitiudes protect and border and greet each other." Growing old together just might mean allowing the other to harden into what they always were. (We grow up by allowing the other to do so). The language of the poem is more vernacular for you than normal -- maybe because it is meant as communication with others, not so much one's self. Wondering if stanza two fits better after the third one, with a roman numeral for each. This is a really fine effort.

    1. Thanks, B--I thought about changing the order(which is the order in which it was written) but I felt the two subordinate stanzas were balanced out. I will look at it and see what moving them around does.Perhaps I do at least need four roman numerals this way.This writing and posting the same day is really difficult for a micromanager like myself.
      Afa your general thoughts, yes, what is it about extending the length of relationship that breeds separation--some really basic need to preserve the essential identity, the boundaries of oneself? Love seems to tear them all down, to make its own space and own beast, as it were, of what is, after all, a polarity--and while that induces the electric charge we all write about, perhaps over time it also fries something. Anyway, I agree on the growing up--there is nothing without that permission to be.

    2. I have changed to four Roman numerals--now it looks fussy to me, so I am going away from it for a bit.

  2. First read: gods, i hope this never happens to me and him! (except the penguins flying by, which would be killer-cool) Second read: To find a quiet here, in the "patched imperfect hanging stiff" and the mornings laughing the way in to town, would be a simple kind of ease. There is enough fodder here for movie and sequel... esp. with the culmination in your last stanza. independent/a delicate mechanism. Juicy thought-provoking read, Hedge.

  3. First, let me just say that i love the artwork you've chosen to go with this. Flying penguins! And such an odd little steampunk church on wheels...or whatever it is.

    Now then, your poem. Every now and then, you write one that is so rich in language, and so deftly written, that I just sit here slack-jawed and reading the lines over again because they are so well turned. The prosthetic, the illness of life, traffic doctors, the picturebox swallowing the couch...*throws up hands, gives pens to charity, becomes a nun*

    This portrait, told from first one side, then the other, then the two together, lets us see both of them and how it is not what each might truly need in their secret souls, neither is this an empty connection. Daily trivia and that clicking mechanism do add up to something, be it imperfect, be it less than movie magical. Your poem would seem to say that one can be hungry, can dream, can be filled with loneliness and longing, but still be part of something, still be connected, still find meaning, down here on the ground. Rich, wise, heart-breaking, gorgeously written poetry, dear Hedge.

  4. the last part of this turns it on its head for me. at first i was concerned over the together yet seperate life and how lonely that must be. but the sharing they have there in the morning changes everything...that coming together and sharing....

  5. Joy Ann, to live like that would seem much lonelier than to be alone. You have written a poem that leaves me with questions about relationships. I never felt lonely with Michael and often wondered if I ever would. Never in a million years did I think he would pass away at such a young age. I say that since I am just 3 years younger than him, 59 seems so young to me. As always your language is rich and inviting.

    Your friend,

  6. pamela, I hope you always hold in your heart the love you two had,and know how unique and amazing it was--very few people can say about their lifemate what you have just said. My second husband, whom I will never forget, died at 46...too young, too young. Hang in there girl--love and hugs and all my best thoughts your way.

  7. I love the delicacy here; I believe it is a love story and a familiar one - there is a communion in the small talk and the silences. You show the unique personalities of each and the hinges where they join. I love to read your work, the naturalness of your usages and the intellect and quality of your choices.

  8. All I know is that there is always more to any relationship than meets the eye - even of those involved in it. There is a deep psychology that draws people together, keeps them together or drives them apart. We're all alone together, one way or another. You poem has laid it out without apology, in a way I can understand. I ask little more of poetry than to aid in my comprehension of the inexplicable.

  9. To me this is a story of people who have grown together in a mutual independence.. they have their own lifes but still these moments of shared joyfulness.. I once read a short story about two professors who loved so much to argue, academically they were bitter enemies but still they got married, and when one of died, the other could not live any longer... a wonderful bittersweet story .. love is not always what it seems like... loved the flow and intricate word choices you made.

  10. This is the saddest love story ever - and so true for so many of my parent generation - it reminds me of so many loveless marriages where they just lost their way and found it again.

  11. "for each a given room built for something shattered" really spoke to was surprising that after the isolation of the evening, their morning was warm. But I am glad it was. Maybe it wasnt all shattered after all.

  12. Such an intriguing first line: "He lives alone with her"....I very much applaud you how took on the story from both the angle of him and her, fully capturing the full picture. I liked your message here. This reminds me the relationship of Sally Bowles and Michael from cabaret. Though both characters here are holding it together, the readers suspects that might just be a guise or that the delicate whirling gizmo they function as apart of will fall to pieces. Well done and viva la

  13. So powerful - from that unexpected opening to the way the words bring you there, revealing those feelings of together-apartness. Beautiful.

  14. Your #3 is amazing...the first bunch of lines especially...the entirety feels like an unveiling of what is truth for so many.

    Sometimes I wonder if it's a gender thing...the level on which man and woman are different in so many different ways makes me wonder if it's just a tough match as far as long term any way. Just thinking aloud.

    I enjoyed your work, Hedge and the image you chose is so cool...together very thought-provoking.


  15. A subject V close to my current thinking. I mean my circumstances are here for sure. it is a very under-explored topic or at least if it has been explored I haven't noticed. Being/together is such a massive thing. Over time we change so much, yet stay the same in many ways. I think you do the complexities so much justice here. I can smell it happening as I read and see it in-scenes developing. The way you frame the intro is excellent and throughout I feel the sense I do in reality of blurred lines between beings ageing - together/apart intellectually/ at-heart.

  16. Rich vein you've tapped. I like the current stanza formation- apart, together, apart, together - the easy familiarity, the ease of separateness. I suppose, we all are really just alone, but from time to time, we might be alone together... ~

  17. off and on relationship like revolving wheels?...glad the morning was bright with togetherness...

  18. When all is said and done, coming together for even those brief hours is better than never connecting. I know. Beautiful write ...

  19. I lost my comment as I already complained, but I don't find this such a depressing poem, truly. Life is hard--it is not clear that the pain is caused by the other or could even be remedied by the other--and so cats and penguins are not all bad. That sounds so jaundiced! But your end is quite hopeful here--there are all kinds of clockwork in the world, not all Newtonian or Jongian. (That's not Carl to whom I refer.) K.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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