My new workplace has a gallery area where we feature art of all shapes and sizes. We had a gallery opening today with a new exhibit, a Valentine’s Day-themed poetry wall… with a small twist. The premise is to create poems about love by blacking out words that you don’t want to use in a magazine, newspaper, or print-out from a novel. The remaining words create a poem. I wrote two:
Time is foolish
Time to continue that letter which is never finished
Love warms the interior
Love, erratic exuberant games without any apparent practical function
A distinctive song,
invisible but invariably present
Irresistibly separated souls to restore a lost communion
It’s foolish and also lurking in the vicinity, origins obscure
I don’t know how, but welcome
These are puzzling matters I am not prepared to resolve.
The very thing I had in mind,
No mistaking, a living target
It would be, among other things, a sanctuary
to protect, preserve and defend ideals.
Perplexity of Marriage
Marriage, romantic in nature,
inspired by complex building
Love, bright and healthy
There would be no end
On your wedding day, your spouse
that you will look at him
exchanging a word with him
a ring and bodily fluids.
Your life, happiness.
Celebrate getting married
or finding a partner whom we will want to spend our lives with
and have children by
a winning lottery ticket
Enter these partnerships and be happy
Perhaps I am getting things out of proportion.
Maybe all this contemplation is an inappropriate response to our wedding day.
One’s thoughts, ideas, and suggestions are worthy of respect.
Form a party
After the event, a couple
This was an interesting exercise. I’m not a poet by any means, and I definitely don’t go around word-smithing from random articles. I read several other poems, and during our creation session, we joked that we all need marriage counseling. So many of the poems turned out to be very sad, and I think that says a lot about what our society does to love. We created these poems using someone else’s words, and I think it speaks volumes about the kinds of words we have to choose from. I know that’s pretty meta and emotional, but seriously, why did so many poems take a turn toward regret? Of course, there were plenty of really touching, uplifting poems, but the amount of sadness really struck me. I made it my mission to find the happiness in my selections to work with. The second poem on marriage was created by blacking out two pages of a novel about a couple going through a divorce, and I decided that there was a way to salvage the goodness, in spite of words like “regret”, “sick feeling”, and “bleach-drinking”.
It was also interesting that many of the poems included the word “love”. Clearly, we were looking for it, but again, I think it says something about what our society claims to value. We “love” nail polish, we “love” the stock market numbers, we “love” a new gadget. Do we really know what “love” actually means? There were also plenty of tangential words, like “fantasy”, “passion”, and “exuberance” in every day articles. Society throws around this depth of emotion to get people to buy the product, service, or idea, yet many times, we are scared to actually dive into these emotions when it comes to personal decisions.
So, I find it interesting that we can be so laid back about using the word “love”, and yet, at the same time, choose to see the dark side of love. I also find it interesting that you can have so much beauty and complexity if you just look beyond what’s right in front of you. Sometimes, you have to strip things down to find the true meaning for you.