“You could tie my tongue
My lips, my teeth
Split them into surrender
Into a foreign language
And I would still manage
To cough up your name.”
– Danielle Shorr, “Let”
“Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.”
– Pablo Neruda, “Here I Love You”
“You cracked hourglass, with sand spilling from behind your ribs: you wasted my time.”
– Rudy Francisco, “Scars”
“He texts me about all the fun he’s having but I’m the first person he tells about a paper cut. My sister compares her body to a junkyard and I find bits of scrap metal beneath her bed from boys who bury promises in her belly. Maybe love ruins you a little bit. Maybe we don’t care. We are so young to hate everything so much. Can recite the periodic table from memory but still can’t quite believe it when they say that they love us, too.
– Kristina Haynes, “The Year of Our Disbelief”
“When a boy tells you he loves you for the first time
only to become silent like a folded sheet of tissue paper
not wanting you to decrease him into the truth,
do not crack your face into the fullest crescent moon at the tapered bottom of a blackened sky.
He never meant a single word of any of it.
He is just a boy,
Only a boy,
do you remember?”
– Edwin Bodney, “When a Boy Tells You He Loves You”
“You just need to know this is the first time I’ve ever done this without looking for an exit row.
And I’m pretty sure my seat can’t float but I’ve already fallen from the sky for you,
Already said no to the parachute,
Already told my mother you curse like a sailor and you love like the war is finally over and you have just come home and you are running down the dock in the harbor and you’re screaming my name.
You’re screaming “honey”
and I’m screaming “don’t trip”
and you’re screaming “honey honey”
and I’m screaming “baby don’t fall down”
I am running for your red lips
I am running for your red heart
With my red heart
Red as a Mississippi sunset
–Andrea Gibson, “Honey”
“See, the 17 year old girl in me fell in love with your silent eyes. I imagine they looked the same when you were convinced of your own brokenness. I imagine your lashes wrote anthologies every time they kissed your cheeks; maybe that’s why I heard a century of voices in your quiet. Every unspoken part of you sang symphonies when we touched and I found myself wanting to be a musician all over again.”
– Aman Batra, “When The Timing Isn’t Right, Neither Is The Man”
Our love is hitchhiking across the California desert
and no one is slowing down. Is a lie still a lie
if you say it pretty? You’re saying you don’t know
what you want and I’m picking pieces of glass
from your throat. Something is burning but I can’t
tell what it is. I’ve had a nightmare every night
since I was a kid and it always ends the same.
I can’t breathe and I can’t move and I am stuck
in this place without air in my lungs. This is all to say
I think I knew you before I knew my own name.
– Fortesa Latifi, “1-10”
“You are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name.”
– Warsan Shire, “For Women Who Are Difficult to Love”
“We spelled love g-i-v-e. I never wanted to hide my body from him. If I could have I would have given it all away with the rest of me. I did not know it was possible to save some things for myself.”
– Sarah Kay, “Private Parts”
“This is a dying fleck of love,
about a drunken man, and a broken woman,
taking steps into the woods,
trying to remember the days,
when the moon was full.”
– Rachel Blattstein, “Moon”
“I kiss temporary lips with permanence
Hoping that I can train them to stay
I love temporary people with permanence
Hoping that I can train them not to leave
And when they do
I claim to have seen it coming
I am incapable of forgetting
A scrapbook memory of skin and heartbeat
Of touch and moments
I know not to look directly into eyes
For they can be blinding
And I still
Do it anyway”
– Danielle Shorr, “I Will Regret This In The Morning”
“And you will try on my backbone and see how bad it hurt the day you said you were calling it quits.
I don’t remember why you left
Or why you came back.
I don’t know how many years have passed.
I’m not really sure years passed at all.
All I know is the rain falls;
You kiss me like a rain fall”
– Alysia Harris, “Death Poem”
“I realized that the act of falling in love is not so much a falling as a desperate, terrifying leap off the highest building around, the kind of jump that ends in not just a single casualty, but two.”
– Meggie Royer, “Not So Much Falling In Love As Leaping Into It”
“and I pick
up her lovely
all her loveliness gone,
and I speak to all the gods,
Jewish gods, Christ-gods,
chips of blinking things,
idols, pills, bread,
rats in the gravy of two gone quite mad
without a chance,
hummingbird knowledge, hummingbird chance,
I lean upon this,
I lean on all of this
and I know
her dress upon my arm
they will not
give her back to me.”
– Charles Bukowski, “For Jane: With All the Love I Had, Which Was Not Enough”
“He used to love me,
he’s just a stranger
who happens to know
all my secrets.”
– Clementine Von Radics, “It’s Just So Strange”
“Only one girl has ever really wrapped my stomach into pretzels.
She didn’t give me butterflies.
She gave me pterodactyls.
I’m talking terrible internal bruising and the first time I kissed her was like the first time I saw fireworks,
which was like the sky first kissing me in the eyeballs.”
– Watsky, “Nothing Like The First Time”
“I want a love that makes me need to change my cell phone calling plan
To something allows me to talk to her longer
‘cause in all honesty, I want to avoid one of them high cell phone bill type loves
And I want a love that makes me regret how small my hands are
I mean the lines on my palms don’t give me enough time
To love you as long as I’d like to type love”
– Shihan, “This Type Love”
“Your voice is the only alarm that I’ll actually wake up to.
Your laugh is that one song they play way too much on the radio, but for some reason, I still love it.
Your smile is the only thing that makes me hate mornings a little less.
Your hands are my security, like knowing that even when I drive you nuts, you’re still gonna reach for me.
And my arm always falls asleep when you do because I just want to be able to hold you even in your dreams.”
– Sy Stokes & Ari Eastman, “Cuddle Poem”
“Because I could set a watch by the times I think about you. You have become a benchmark in my life. The familiar thing I hope to catch in my rearview mirror when I am driving at night.
You are still a mark in the distance I can use to find my way. When your ghost comes around he is still comforting, familiar, fleeting.
When your memory finds me, you still feel like home.”
– Chrissy Stockton , “Aurora Borealis”