Guest Poet Leslie Lansman

I Never Liked Scarlett, and I Wanted to Kill Rhett

My name is not Juliet
And you are not the modern Romeo.
When we kiss
No music will pour from the heavens.
There will be no birds chirping
No moment of perfection.
This will not be a kiss
Of life and death.
Our lips will meet
Our toungues touch
And our teeth will bang together
As we learn the shape of each otherís

My name is not Isolde,
And you are not a revamped Tristan.
My breast is not a rose-tipped cloud,
Do not call me milky-white.
My breast bears the battle scars
Of bras ineptly undone
And of hands
Too eager in their exploration.
When you touch it
You will feel

My name is not Guinevere
And you can not pretend to be Lancelot.
When we make love
There will be no symphony
Our bodies will not melt.
You will not rescue me.
We will unbutton our pants
Before removing our shoes.
You will reach for my lips
And get a mouthful of hair.
You might leave
Without saying the proper

My name is not Psyche
And Eros was just a myth
When we fall in love
No arrow will pierce your heart
You will not be flying down any street.
It will be complicated.
It will be a confusion.
We will not be a
love poem.

Instead, we shall laugh
We shall delight in our imperfections
We shall battle any who tell us
We have to be a greeting card.
And, we shall know that what is
Has infinite more potential
Than what could not be.

February, 2000

Leslie Lansman's Questions:

Does this poem work, or is the idea repetitive and over drawn?

Do the different stanzas, each evocative of a different level of intimacy, build to a larger picture, or is there no need for such specificity?

I basically believe that poetry should be easy to understand, that poetry should be infintaley readable and approachable, the problem with this belief is that sometimes things can become too readable, too approachable, is this a problem here?

Do you think following up on the imagry of fabled lovers would be a good addition to the poem, or is referencing them through only their names enough?

Thank you for your comments.

The Albany Poetry Workshop