Love/Seduction Poems

For Lonely People

Who Hate Poetry

But Need Something

To Do

On a Saturday Night

Preface

 

These poems are written in an ancient Arabic form known as The Proposition. The form is a proposition in itself (If X, then Y), and the content is also a proposition, as in a romantic proposition. In these poems, I did not even attempt to replicate the complex metrical structure of the original form because it is too embedded in the tonal qualities of the Arabic language. Here, there are only thirteen of these poems because I hit a point where I didn’t care anymore. My apologies, in advance, to all Arabic readers who love the form I can only crudely imitate.

copyright 2017

 

 

 

One

If you lie

on your back

and count the holes

in the ceiling tiles

at this shithole motel

in Bumfuck, Oklahoma,

I will do

my best

to distract you.

 

Two

 

If, at the moment

when the setting sun

touches the horizon,

we drive as fast West

as the earth rotates East,

holding hands,

we can make time

stand still

till this ole ‘55

Chevy pickup

runs out of gas

proving once again

that love is not eternal

and even the ‘55

cannot escape

the laws of physics.

 

 

Three

 

If, when you walk

through the door,

home from work,

you smile,

sit on my lap

and kiss me,

I will slowly slide

my hand

under your skirt

just enough to give you cause

to slap me silly,

over and over,

until you feel

like that cheerleader

(the one you once were)

who was dating

the second-string quarterback,

the guy who will never

amount to much of anything

but was a pretty good

high school bad boy

and had the touch

that made

you feel special,

over and over.

 

 

 

Four

 

If, at first light,

you lie

with your head on my chest

and move your hands

over my body

(it could be a small

terrain of your choice

because I want to respect

your right to choose)

and stroke to the rhythm

of your breathing,

just for a little while,

I will bring you,

yes, coffee in bed

and, yes, a breakfast

of scrambled eggs

and, certainly,

a fried breakfast meat

of your choice

(because, as I said,

I respect your right

to choose)

and, yes, drop biscuits

because, however

it is that you view me

in those moments

when I disappoint you,

many and frequent as they are,

I ain’t

your biscuit roller.

 

 

Five

 

If, when you return

from a week on the road,

tired but victorious,

or exhausted

and defeated,

I will make you a salad

with arugula and tomatoes

and praline pecans

and fried goat cheese

with a dressing

made from a port reduction

while you soak

in a warm bath until

it turns tepid,

and you can eat

while in your robe,

hair still wet and uncombed,

and I will listen

to your road stories

as if they were epics

and our civilization

depended on your strength

and success,

and then,

if you lie in bed,

I will rub your feet

and maybe your calf muscles

without straying north

of your knee caps,

unless you make eye contact

and I see that half smile

or you whisper a moan

that drops an octave

and doubles in volume.

 

 

Six

 

If you squeeze

my lemon

until the juice

runs down my leg,

so to speak,

I will clean up

the mess—

and you can walk away

with that purest sense

of accomplishment—

the sense not complicated

by obligation—

and also with

the knowledge,

so often indistinguishable

from power,

that you can,

with the flick of your wrist,

get me to mop

your floors.

 

 

Seven

If you can

possibly forgive me

for bumbling my way

to a conclusion,

despite the many signs

you sent my way,

obvious as they were

to those observant,

despite the quiver in my voice

when I finally

understood,

despite my struggles

to keep the conversation

from drifting into

the nothingness

of my heartbeat,

despite my indecision

about inviting you in

for a drink,

despite my rush

to our first kiss,

not because I was lusting

but because I wanted

that awkward moment

in the past,

despite my hands,

apelike in the moment,

repeating failure with each

button of your blouse,

never getting that last

one at the bottom

to release its hold,

eventually, in utter shame,

sliding your silk blouse

off your shoulders,

letting it fall to the floor,

where you gracefully stepped

out of it in a move

reflecting years of ballet classes,

despite the way I slide

my index finger across

the back of you bra,

trying to figure out

if my next humiliation

will involve

a hook or a snap,

whether I should lift or pull

to release your breasts,

waiting

like a school boy

who stares at a quadratic equation

for the better part of an hour,

despite the way I used two hands

to unbutton and unzip your skirt,

which fell into a circle

around the red three-inch heels

I hadn’t even thought

to pull from your feet,

despite the way I fight

to open the condom,

eventually using my teeth

and spitting out a hunk of foil

as if I had choked on it,

despite the way

I moved too fast,

not gentle at all,

I assume,

despite all this,

if you could forgive me,

I will always admit

things could have gone better

and I promise to laugh

when you tell the story

of our first date

as if the future

of democracy depended

on the world knowing

what happened between us

in a stretched out

piece of time

that will circle back

like a dragon biting its tail,

the eternal recurrent,

that moment when time eats its young.

Eight

If, we can agree,

that we both have heard,

all day long,

time’s thump, thump, thump

behind us

as that eighteen wheeler

hit the seams of this concrete highway,

tumescent with tar,

filling the cracks and seams,

then we should pull

off I-40

in Albuquerque,

find a Super 8 Motel

because they don’t

have cable TV

but they do have

DVD players in the rooms

and that means

we could watch some

amateur but tasteful erotica

and make a night of it.

Nine

If you allow me

to muster all

of my poetic stuff,

if you would let me

compare you

to a summer day

in the age of global warming,

your breasts

to Kilimanjaro’s snow

when I know you have

a deep fear of skin cancer,

your eyes to stars

when we know now

that some of these

lights above died

thousands of years ago,

we could agree

our epoch has

become too complex

for metaphor.

 

 

Ten

 

If, for just this moment,

a mere slice of eternity,

hardly worth a wink

from the devil

or a yawn from God,

just for the span of this simple moment,

we could forget

that Tristan and Iseult

were in love with a love potion,

that every love story since

their deadly romance is

full of deception

and presumptions,

that Delta Blues

testifies to the battle of love,

that Hollywood movies

are about the silly

belief that it will all just work out,

that reality shows

say love is about

the satisfaction

of righteous anger

and the inability

for lovers to understand

they produce their own misery,

if we could be uncomfortably vulnerable,

let go of all that we have learned

about love from lovers

in tale and song

who can never live with each other

or without each other,

if we can, for just this moment,

be honest and say what we feel

in all of its complexity,

its hurt, disappointment,

and mediocrity,

then this is what

I would say to you:

 

oh hell,

that thing I have

been wanting to say,

all this time,

all this fucking time,

what was it?

 

Eleven

If you will sing

doobie, dobbie, do,

doobie, do, do,

with me

and only me,

I will promise

a life of Sinatra.

 

Twelve

If I promise to avoid

the drama of phrases

like “broke my heart,”

and if you promise

to not voice the phrase—

better yet, not even think—

looking me straight in the eye,

you whiny little twit,

I would admit

that you caused

me extreme frustration

and more than a little

lethargy and maybe

a touch of self-centered

indignation

when you walked away,

not once,

but thrice,

when I believed,

deeply, in all

my narcissism,

I was totally

everything you could

ever desire

and maybe even more

than you deserved,

I would admit,

if given a slight

encouragement,

I would walk into it all

again—but

only one more time,

because I have some

self-respect.

 

 

Thirteen

 

If I buy a pair of yoga pants

(let’s say in subdued black

with a few geometric shapes,

based, just for the sake

of argument,

on popular petroglyphs,

and, just to clarify,

by "popular" I mean

like what you would

see on the cover

of a Punk Rock CD),

and if I guaranteed

you prior approval

of the entire outfit

(shoes, socks, and shirt)

that emerges from

this foundation

we shall call

a fashion miracle

(of sorts),

would you take

a random walk

with me in the park

and let me hold

your hand?