piyp day

piyp day
Poem In Your Pocket Day

Thursday, April 28, 2011

how to write a love poem”

Just today, telling a boy in juvee
how to write a love poem,
I’m stammering over ideas
of detail and unique, trying
to get him not to say happy
or sparkling eyes but to talk
about what is his love’s, only
hers, and no one else’s
like how the first time
I picked up something from
somewhere, a book maybe
a phone, and on the train platform
you smack it straight down
out of my hand and we stare
at each other dead-faced
for a millisecond and then bust
out laughing – like that, I tell
him and he’s cracking up; he’s
dying in this jail, where he doesn’t
know how soon he’ll be out
even though he’s just eighteen
but right now he’s full belly
doubled over and I describe it
to him again and who knows
what this beautiful, tethered young
man has done to forfeit his life
in this place but I remember
again, as he pounds the fused plastic
table how I want sometimes secretly
to hold your head in my hands again
and tell you that a castle of a brownstone
in Brooklyn is yours, that we’ll
be sweet forever, and make
outlandish things from fish and
peppers; and this time I’ll mean
it, except I don’t tell the boy that
part, but he only needs the part
where, when I least expect it,
you’ll slap something out of my
hands and we’ll roll on the floor
laughing and that’s what I want
to remember if you’ll remember
that too, except I worry you don’t
but the boy tells me, still chuckling,
his eyes glassy, that he gets it. I get
it,
he says; detail, I get it, yeah
and shows me the part he’s already
written to his girl about how
he’s not mad that a new man
is holding her and how she deserves
that because she is beautiful
and if he was the new dude, he’d
hold her too, and he respects dude
for knowing how deserving she is
and I say yeah, I get it, like that,
you’re on it. You already know
what to do.

Roger Bonair-Agard


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