Friday, April 24, 2015

Day 21-ish: Snapshot



They stand in front of a bridge,
a nice connecting piece:
his world and hers, one.

Her head presses to his chest,
hair flowing over his shirt
like hair in love will do,

all wavy and happy,
the kind you can call tresses
and not laugh.

His hair is almost perfect,
a wisp in front curled up.
Even love gets windy.

Their eyes fix on the camera,
intense and distant at once,
happy or wistful or stoned—

who can tell, really?
No drug renders us
as vacuous as love can.

But the smiles…
Something feels amiss,

The noses don’t quite crinkle
as cutely as they ought.
The cheeks aren’t rosy;

the proper Glow is lacking,
just two pale people
who wear polite grins.
Did one of them stub a toe,
so the stretched mouths hide
a grimace and a smirk?
Maybe they came from the dentist,
a romantic Couples Root Canal
before paparazzi invaded.

An argument, perhaps:
strain of a day mouths forced
to curl against natural bent.

The ache of life on hold,
meetings and deadlines and coffee
waiting when they finish?

Or, just maybe, passion restrained,
a “We’ve been posing
for this damned picture

while we could be tangling limbs,
or rock climbing or reading or sleeping,
hurtling through a life too short

to waste on seventeen takes
standing in front of this bridge
for the likes of you.”
The concept of this poem is what we try to read into a single image, here a picture of an ostensibly happy couple.  The repetition of "love" comes with tongue planted in cheek, a word we use sincerely, but to cover many different situations and apply to people whose hearts we don't really know.

I played in this space with the idea of examining the way a couple looks, picking apart motivations and feelings from a single frozen frame.  We do so looking at accused criminals or lovers or kids squirming under inquisition, all attempting to use skills we believe we have to understand the inner workings of another's mind.


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