I'm so happy to be celebrating the first day of April with a poem from one of my most inspiring pals.
After you read him here, you should go over to the SF's sisterwife publication, The Legendary, and read/listen to For Everyone Not Convinced By Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" Campaign. You'll be glad Elliott's on your side of the playground, giving the bullies what-for.
So about this love poem. I get a lot of really hot poems emailed to me, but this was the only one that made me kinda wish it was just being...sent to me, not submitted. I may or may not carry it in my pocket sometimes for luck. But enough telling on myself.
NO BIG SECRET
after Bikini Kill “For Tammy Rea”
I like women.
Women in high heels who slow sip whiskey
far straighter than they are;
Women flaunting tank tops and tattoos
telling stories of tethered promises.
Women who borrow hips
from cupcakes and six packs.
I like women
who love without a plan,
who fuck in the time signature
of riot grrl,
and make love out of white-knuckled-headboards
This is a pick up line
smeared across my pillowcase
in the three fingered fashion of last night
asking for more.
I like women
who smile morse code
(long long short short short long long)
into the payphone of my subconscious
and tell the operator to fuck off.
Which brings me to you.
I know we haven’t been on a “date”
yet, but I checked our romantic compatibility
on astrology.com, and boy are we in trouble.
Apparently our union is one
of innate practicality, and I don’t know about you,
but that terrifies me.
Let’s pretend we’re seventeen,
when my version of chivalry was sneaking you in
to my parent’s house.
We’d watch infomercials til 5am,
then, when the earth conspired to freeze you
out of your car,
I’d bring glasses of hot water
to melt the ice.
I would’ve rather chiseled your bottom lip,
chipped away at your smile until I could hide there,
let your tongue lick my wounds,
but I wasn’t that smart.
Instead, I waited ten years,
listening always to our favorite song,
“Past the billboards and the magazines
I dream about being with you,
we can’t hear a word they say,
let’s pretend we own the world today,
the sunny side of the street where we are.”
I have walked the sunny side
of every street
looking for your shadow
only to be disappointed by congruent strangers.
“Wipe the tears from my face.
Wipe the sweat from my hair,
tell me we’re not better off” (alone).
Elliott D. Smith believes in the power of tattoos and reference books. He currently works with people with conviction histories, helping them to reduce barriers to employment and housing. Elliott also conducts research on masculinity, friendships, and identity formation. His writing tackles issues of gender, sexuality, and family, and is greatly influenced by the people and places he loves.