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This is not a Poem About Love

by Shawnacy Perez

This is not a poem about love
This is a poem about being fierce;
About all the claw-footed things inside;
The things with savagely beating wings and sharp, narrow, next-meal eyes.

This is not a poem for the faint of heart
Who want some nice little homily about flowers and
Rain and the music of falling leaves in the peach of spring.

I am the one with the flashing gaze.
The one who will cut out your thoughts and hang them from the rooftops
And let them be torn and shredded by the howling winds.

I rolled up my sleeves when I sat down to write.
And pulled my hair back.
I’m scratching this on the prison floor with the sharpened end of a
Steeled mind.

It’s got me.
The burning coal-fire of whatever it is that sits in my belly
Like a churning volcano
And spits and spews and shakes and
Swallows cities.

This is not a poem about love.
Or about wishing.
Or silly, paper-thin if’s and maybes and the shreds of some futile hope.

This is about being eaten inside out by
Something so huge and faceless you can’t even name its name
Or place its genus or species in
Any kind of biological compendium.

This is everything raw and bone-center, nerve-stretched-thin-laid-bare-on-the-table,
That’s pushing and scratching and butting and exploding its way
Through all the too-small garlicpress holes of
Words and actions and the moving of feet one in front of the other
As the day swells and wanes.
And soon enough it’ll just take the top of my head clean off and
Burst and pop and fizz and whatever it is a star does when it detonates,
All over the windshield of my life.

And all I’ll see ever after will be
Black and red
And the slashings of words
On brick walls like God writing on tablets.
From the top of a smokeringed mountain,
And the world walking by, like it’s nothing at all.

This is not a poem about love.
At least, not about the nice kind.
Not the kind that sends flowers or wears pretty dresses
Or sits on beaches at sunset and says drippy-sweet
Rhyming words.

If it’s about love at all
(which it’s not)
It’s about the kind that’s ragged and mud-caked
And sees too far and knows too much and holds too tight
The kind that reaches inside your body
Through skin and muscle and bone and sinew
And grabs your heart like a vice-gripped thief,
And leaves you with nothing left to pump your blood.

The kind that won’t take you to the movies, but to the battlefields.
The kind that takes bullets
And crawls up on crosses
And carries you on its back up fiery canyon walls.

The kind that snarls at you with wolverine teeth
When you’re even the tiniest bit less than everything.
The kind that rips and screams and tears things down that have
No business being there.
Tears them down with fingernails and sweat
And the decimating force of the hatred of all that is untrue.

This is not a poem about love.
Unless it’s a love that carries the shame-heavy world,
And drags through guttered nights,
And fights with fists and the blunt edge of devastating faith.

Unless it’s love that’s
Fearless and
Tiger- strong.
And dogs your steps like
A wild, tameless addiction.

This is not a poem about love
But about something worlds away
from four blasted letters.
from heart shaped things and polite first-story exchanges.
from feelings - play-baubles for children in men’s bodies-
from who’s got game, from sex, from paper-mache vows and the empty buckets, full of holes
In which we keep our base, sham-promisings.

Something big and wild and wide and hot.
Something untouchable, something that burns and beats and ravages
And doesn’t waste time being sorry.
Because it’s too busy turning you inside out
And re-arranging organs
And pulling you out to the edges of the universe and
Looking out with you on everything else.

This is not a poem about love.
It’s about bleeding and reaching
And tearing yourself in two, and three, and fourteen thousand
And collecting all the shreds of you
And - in the frenzy of some blackscarred night -
Rearranging them all on some vast
World-canvas and creating something
Completely new and unknowabe
Made only of what was once your timorous self.

This is a poem about
Pulling out your bones one by one
And drilling holes till you’ve made of them gory instruments
And playing unheard-of melodies
On your own body
When the wind blows rough.

This is a poem about what happens
To you when you crawl out of yourself
Like some holy refugee
And tear off the cowl you were born with
And throw it to the dogs,
And when you see.
I mean SEE
Things - and what that does to your
And maybe it kicks it around for sport,
And maybe it slams it against doors in the shadows of a seedy alleyway,
And maybe it hits it one too many times with a meat tenderizer,
And maybe it tosses it nonchalantly in an incinerator.
And maybe you survive
And maybe you don’t.

This is a poem about deserts
And heat-baked roads
And wracking restless driving into days and nights
And nothing you see is real.
About wastelands and dry wilderness
And wolf-things that crouch
And snarl
And smell your puling fears.

This is not a polite poem
It doesn’t follow the rules.
It won’t decorously turn from the things that
Slink in the shadows
Or crouch behind doorways, avoiding the light.
This poem is all billy-clubs and
Mag lights
And the glint of steel
And the smell of powder and laceration.
It’s a whip-crack,
Blade-slash heat,
Rope burn,
Bitter pill
Choking, freezing, burning, fading, C4, cataclysm
Of the unused grey mater
Of the too-real, too-scarred, too-ugly
Molten center of the heart
Of you and me.

See…it’s like I said.
This is not a poem about love.

© 2011 arbitrary jane


Posted on 06/04/2011
Copyright © 2023 Shawnacy Perez

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Rhiannon Jones on 06/04/11 at 02:22 PM

Wow. This poem caught me up, helpless, in its pounding, forward movement. Excellent!

Posted by Jo Halliday on 06/05/11 at 04:27 AM

What a brilliant poem! Most people though want the four-lettered love.

Posted by James Zealy on 06/05/11 at 06:35 AM

Its like and obsession, which is love disguised.

Posted by Scott Utley on 06/07/11 at 05:49 AM

Standing Ovation! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

Posted by Agnes Hall on 06/09/11 at 04:54 AM

This is the most beautiful thing I have ever read.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 06/10/11 at 12:12 AM

Wow! I would rate this as a classic... an epic for our times, but also timeless; as relevant in 2040, as it was in 1960.

Posted by Ariane Scott on 06/10/11 at 01:36 AM

The movement here is amazing-- ferocious and pounding, it grabbed my wrists, pulled me in and won't let go. Great language too-- I particularly love "next-meal eyes" and "garlicpress holes."

Posted by Elizabeth Shaw on 12/13/11 at 04:24 PM

fantastic! after hearing your song I feel like I just heared Carl Orff's Carmina Burana for the first time.

Posted by Angie Jenkins on 12/29/11 at 05:16 AM

Wow...fantastic writing.

Posted by Jody Pratt on 12/29/11 at 05:18 AM

This poem in every way describes the pain I feel at the thought of the love of my life not involved in the cause. I have never seen such a long poem as POTD, but after reading (in fact after reading even just a few lines of it) I can easily see how it got the spot. Engaging from beginning to end. This was an epic journey through galaxies and mouths of wolverines that won't soon be forgotten. Favorite.

Posted by Joe Cramer on 12/29/11 at 01:53 PM

... excellent.....

Posted by Magnolia Moonpie on 12/29/11 at 01:59 PM

...true, wrenching, elevating, ecstatic and terrible in its truth, mad with the holy fire of the transformative...thank you, thank you, and again, thank you. Oh, and yes...damn right its the POTD...!lk

Posted by Kristine Briese on 12/29/11 at 04:55 PM

Gut-wrenching. Leaves me speechless.

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