Saturday, February 14, 2015

Promise Me

Promise you'll always love me
as we sit with pastries and a cup of coffee before us;
say it after the bar holding up the awning of the cafe has fallen,
dazing you.

Say it now, when the sun is as bright over your shoulder
as a hijacked 747.
Say it now, when we can have the moment as lovers,
not as litigants;
soothe me with the words I long to hear.

When we were young, we believed
in every fantastic happy fiction we found in the sticky pages
of our heavily illustrated story books.
Then--
tornado.
Then--
regime change.
Then--
attractive others, smiling, as kind as undertakers.

Promise you'll always love me,
say it now, before the Narcan kicks in.
Say it now, while my heart is full for you--
don't wait until the mail comes,
full of better deals, and introductory rates.
Don't wait until the gurney begins to roll, 
and some sensible doctor gets a hold of you, making you sign things,
agree to things, and do things, on Wednesdays, when his office is closed.

Listen, life never turns out the way we pictured it.
Quick, before we crumple with age,
before our fingers curl back at us like strangers,
dropping things,
lost and pissing our pants a block away from home.
Promise me
that you'll always love me.

Then we'll finish our pastries,
and walk hand in hand until neither of us can tell anymore
why we came this way,
or how we managed to stay on our feet without each other.
That will be enough for me--
I give you my word.
_______

For Karin's mini-challenge at Real Toads: Promises



 

22 comments:

Kerridwen said...

I have found that promising love doesn't really turn out how we imagine.. Even if we do keep the love promise.. other things go awry! ;)

TexWisGirl said...

big sigh...

Mama Zen said...

The way you work between light and dark in this is just incredible.

Outlawyer said...

Ah--you convert pastries into the bread/staff of life here. Wonderful and hope it's true. k.

ps - thanks so much for participating in the challenge, such as it is. k.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

"Kind as undertakers". Wonderful. This poem is.....perfect. I adore it. I wish someone in this lifetime had said such words to me......

Björn Rudberg said...

I think we learn to grasp the opportunity... Why wait? A promise is much easier to keep than to give I have found, so many things can happen if we miss that chance, and it will come back to haunt us.

Kerry O'Connor said...

The forward momentum of this poem is very striking from the 'Promise me...' to the final line: 'I give you my word.'

So many of your lines have an epigram-like strength and could stand alone to signify a universal truth.

Say it now, while my heart is full for you--
don't wait until the mail comes,
full of better deals, and introductory rates.

On the whole, I found this plea to a lover very touching, and one that must surely be hard to deny.

hedgewitch said...

Another matchless love poem from your pen, Shay--one that understands all the threats and dangers as well as the fragile sweetness that needs to be consumed before the chance to do so is gone. I also like the sense of continuity and intimacy here, as if the speaker is talking to someone known since childhood, another self almost.

georgeplaceblog said...

"When we were young, we believed
in every fantastic happy fiction we found in the sticky pages
of our heavily illustrated story books." Yes, it is a wonder that after we experience reality that we still have the capacity to love and be loved. Wonderful poem.

Susan said...

I take this to heart, having such joy in worn and comfortable things and relationships that I never understood the call of the new and wild as much as anyone else I met .... Beautifully rendered. It would make a great picture book!

R.K. Garon said...

Perfect!
ZQ

Kim Nelson said...

I hit the narcan line and paused. Even a few months ago, my breath would have caught in my throat, my heartbeat would have raced ahead and my mind would have wandered down and worn old path. Now, though, I can read this and say, "Ah. I understand this situation. I know the fear and loss and lies."

Marian said...

Takes a big open heart to remember the time when we were lovers, not litigants.

Jazzbumpa said...

there are lines in this poem that i love

and others that have me utterly baffled

the tone is so desperately plaintive that it's almost off-putting

but love can be that way

cheers
jzb

Susie Clevenger said...

Love brand new is a beautiful thing. We never know the life ahead so a present moment is all we can own. You have so beautifully conveyed that.

Margaret said...

Be careful what we promise, we might be expected to deliver. Perhaps it's better to let our actions speak for themselves … I really felt the anxiety here.

Lolamouse said...

The interplay between love and fear just kills me in this, Shay. You should write wedding vows! ; P

Katy Magee said...

I think, perhaps, you *did* just write a wedding vow... if wedding vows were honest.

This is wonderful.

Shawna said...

"Say it now, when the sun is as bright over your shoulder
as a hijacked 747."

"attractive others, smiling, as kind as undertakers"

"before our fingers curl back at us like strangers"

Girl, you sure have a way with similes.

Shadow said...

Yes! Say it now! Keep saying it. 'Til the day we die...

my heart's love songs said...

yes, the urgency... say it NOW before it's too late, before life gets in the way, before you don't mean it any more... say it now.

amazing, Shay! but when aren't you?

grapeling said...

before our fingers curl back at us like strangers

that line punched me, and the whole ~