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Shall I compare thee to a John Hughes movie?
Thou art Pretty in Pink and sexier than Kelly LeBrock’s lips.
I recall no Weird Science to the chemistry of our first date,
But only your Bueller charm, Farmer Ted wit,
and Some Kind of Wonderful beauty.
You are no Chet, no Principal Richard Vernon on detention duty,
But so thoughtful that you would never forget my birthday
like in Sixteen Candles. Life with you is a Vacation:
more hopeful than Sparky’s family-truckster ride,
racier than Christy Brinkley in that red Ferrari,
richer than the floppy-disk payoff for Samantha Baker’s underwear,
and as magical as Gary and Wyatt’s Barbie Doll ceremony.
While you may not know “If You Leave” was sung by OMD,
Be sure to know that I love you and your love gives life to me.
Thanks to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 for getting me started.
Some of you have asked a fair enough question: why am I working on a poem about gas? Today, I was in touch with a man named Jerry Finley who promotes a great eighties cover band called “The Breakfast Club.” In fact, my wife Megan and I had our second ever date, on New Year’s Eve, listening to the band at Amos’s in Charlotte. Jerry and I discussed the possibility of me opening up for the band on a couple of their concert dates in the spring. It is a little intimidating to think about opening up for a band with a book in hand rather than a guitar.
I wrote another draft of this, long gone, back in college when my love life wasn’t as blissfully happy (thank you Megan) as it is now.
If you think any part of this structure is genius, credit Langston Hughes. I have closely followed the structure of his “Dreams Deferred.” That’s a poem I love and read with many middle school students back when I taught in Charlotte. Thank you to that poet’s work who helped me tap into some laughs when I wasn’t feeling so spirited.
Love is Like a Fart
What happens to love passed?
Does it stink up
Like a port-o-let in the heat?
Or stain your shorts
With a big brown streak?
Does it ribbit-ribbit like a frog?
Or cloud the future—
Like a dangerous fog?
Maybe it just cuts
Like a big fat lie.
Or does it just die?