A Postcard for Unusual Loves

And now for today’s prompt (optional, as always). Love poems are a staple of the poetry scene. It’s pretty hard to be a poet and not write a few – or a dozen – or maybe six books’ worth. But because so many love poems have been written, there are lots of clichés. Fill your poems with robins and hearts and flowers, and you’ll sound more like a greeting card than a bard. So today, I challenge you to write a “loveless” love poem. Don’t use the word love! And avoid the flowers and rainbows. And if you’re not in the mood for love? Well, the flip-side of the love poem – the break-up poem – is another staple of the poet’s repertoire. If that’s more your speed at present, try writing one of those, but again, avoid thunder, rain, and lines beginning with a plaintive “why”? Try to write a poem that expresses the feeling of love or lovelorn-ness without the traditional trappings you associate with the subject matter.

When I saw today’s NaPoWriMo prompt, I knew exactly what poem I needed to write. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a postcard featuring a snail, so I had to make do with something more suggestive than explicit.

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Kiss of a Snail

as it approaches your finger,
as its lips suck down on it
tentatively – because what is
this hard, immobile, warm
mass? it does not taste
of death
– its tentacles quiver,
dodging airborne dust.
when it comes, though cold,
it is the closest you’ve
ever felt to a solution,
invisible teeth bite down
with all-conquering acceptance.
your skin will blunt them,
they will be shed by morning.
in slow ascent of kisses,
it takes hours for you
to be surmounted as an obstacle.
you sink within patience –
this must be the peak
of meditation: you are
the mountain, and the path,
and the home.

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