Romance is Overrated (Poem for Jeyn)

You worry so much
about your hair,
and girls we pass on the street.
“I want to look like her”
you tell me,
as if a different face
would make me love you
even more than I already do.

I don’t want you to look like her,
or anybody else.
To be honest,
I don’t really care what you look like.
Because at the end of the day
we’re all going to look
old and then we’re going to look
dead and then we’re going to look
like the memory,
in a photo,
of the night we walked down a hot road in Ayutthaya,
with the street dogs stretched out at our feet,
the air thick with new smells,
the jangle somewhere of a trumpet,
the blue-eyed cat asleep on the flower stall,
the both of us so full of being alive
that we were half drunk on it.
Don’t waste a second of this life
caring about another girl’s face,
your face is amazing.

“Say something romantic” you say and grab my arm.
You saw a spider.
A little one,
with long legs,
and now you’re scared
that the world is full of spiders,
and that one day I’ll die.

“Say something romantic” you say,
because you want the warmth of my words
to light you up from the inside
and keep away the fear.

There is terror and misery and joy all around us.
The world is too big to hold in one heart,
and there is too much sorrow
for it ever
to make sense.

Love is mundane and everyday
and wild and transcendant.
Love is so much more than an idea,
so much more than romance.

I could tell you that you
are the stars in my sky.
I could tell you that you
are my Everything.

but the truth is,
is so much bigger
than either
you or me.

And what can we do
in the face of all this
dumbfounded miracle,
but stand on the edge
of the universe,
and breathe in
the wondrous
cacophony of our

All these words fall over themselves,
they dissolve into nothing.
They are the finger that points at the moon.
The moon is full, I love you.


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