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Romance

by Richard Vince

You shouldn’t have believed the hype:
It is not the city, but what you do
While there, assumption and cliché
Prompting efforts that would be alien
In the everyday comfort of home.

What I assumed was performative cynicism
Now seems to be informed scepticism
Of the way relationships are marketed,
Sold to us before we even understand
What they are, who we are, what we want:
Happiness deconstructed so we know
The components we must buy and assemble.

We were both unwitting victims:
Trying tropes for size, shoehorning ourselves
Into impossibly tiny boxes with
No room to grow, no way out except
To go back the way we’d come, back to
Before, with all the avoidance of learning
That that entailed.

The role I played was not the one
You tried to give me: I aimed for
Romance, but you wanted a fairytale,
Wrote me a part I was already sick of,
That I had already outgrown long before
I stepped into your story.

After years of alternating between
Blaming you and blaming myself, I have
Finally settled on the knowledge that
We were both products of our society,
Made in the image of the gods of
Popular culture who are really puppets
With their strings disappearing into
The shadows, just as ours were.

Of course, I should have known better,
But so should you, I suppose. I hope
You have found happiness in reality,
And that you make fairytales
Instead of looking for them.

03/05/2019

Posted on 04/12/2019
Copyright © 2019 Richard Vince

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Glenn Currier on 04/13/19 at 05:03 PM

Richard, what a captivating piece! I come from a sociology background and your poem reminds me of what I used to teach, one concept being the social construction of reality and how the whole concept of romance was socially and culturally constructed. Of course your poem is personal and I love the way you speak of growth beyond the typical myths or fantasies we try to fit ourselves into - sometimes with great frustration if not shame. Your poem brings this home to me in a new way and helps me see how it applies to my own life and relationships. As usual, you have taken us into the heart and out of it on a bigger journey. Thanks a bunch.

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